Akshay Venkatesh, an Australian mathematician of Indian origin, was one of four winners of the Fields medal announced on Wednesday. The Fields medal, often regarded as the Nobel Prize for mathematics, is given every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40.
Venkatesh, 36, is the second Australian to win the medal. He got the award for his use of dynamics theory, which studies the equations of moving objects to solve problems in number theory, according to The Guardian.
Venkatesh was born in New Delhi but his family moved to Perth when he was two. He earned his PhD at the age of 20, according to PTI. He currently teaches at Stanford University.
The other three winners were mathematicians Caucher Birkar, Peter Scholze and Alessio Figalli. Birkar is a Cambridge University professor of Iranian origin, Scholze teaches at the University of Bonn in Germany, and Figalli is an Italian mathematician at ETH Zurich.
Each winner receives a cash prize of 15,000 Canadian dollars (Rs 7.88 lakh).
“A lot of the time when you do math, you’re stuck, but at the same time there are all these moments where you feel privileged that you get to work with it,” Venkatesh was quoted as saying. “You have this sensation of transcendence, you feel like you’ve been part of something really meaningful.”
The winners got the medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio de Janeiro. The prize was first given in 1932.