Akshay Venkatesh, Fields Medal 2018

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Akshay Venkatesh

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Birthplace: New Delhi, DL, India
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Occupation: mathematician
Managed by: Yigal Burstein
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About Akshay Venkatesh, Fields Medal 2018

Akshay Venkatesh FRS (born 21 November 1981) is an Australian mathematician and a professor at (since 15 August 2018) the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. His research interests are in the fields of counting, equidistribution problems in automorphic forms and number theory, in particular representation theory, locally symmetric spaces, ergodic theory, and algebraic topology.

He is the only Australian to have won medals at both the International Physics Olympiad and International Mathematical Olympiad, which he did at the age of 12.

In 2018, he was awarded the Fields Medal for his synthesis of analytic number theory, homogeneous dynamics, topology, and representation theory. He is the second Australian and the second person of Indian descent to win the Fields Medal.

Early years

Venkatesh was born in Delhi, India and his family emigrated to Perth in Western Australia when he was two years old. He attended Scotch College. His mother, Svetha, is a computer science professor at Deakin University. Venkatesh attended extracurricular training classes for gifted students in the state mathematical olympiad program,[9] and in 1993, whilst aged only 11, he competed at the 24th International Physics Olympiad in Williamsburg, Virginia, winning a bronze medal. The following year, he switched his attention to mathematics and, after placing second in the Australian Mathematical Olympiad, he won a silver medal in the 6th Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad, before winning a bronze medal at the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad held in Hong Kong. He completed his secondary education the same year, turning 13 before entering the University of Western Australia as its youngest ever student. Venkatesh completed the four year course in three years and became, at 16, the youngest person to earn First Class Honours in pure mathematics from the University. He was awarded the J. A. Woods Memorial Prize as the most outstanding graduand of the year from the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Dentistry, or Medical Science. While at UWA he was also one of the founding members of the Honours Cricket Association.

Research career

Venkatesh commenced his PhD at Princeton University in 1998 under Peter Sarnak, which he completed in 2002, producing the thesis Limiting forms of the trace formula. He was supported by the Hackett Fellowship for postgraduate study. He was then awarded a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a C.L.E. Moore instructor. Venkatesh then held a Clay Research Fellowship from the Clay Mathematics Institute from 2004 to 2006, and was an associate professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. He was a member of the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) from 2005 to 2006. He became a full professor at Stanford University on 1 September 2008. After serving as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the IAS in 2017-2018, he returns to the IAS as a permanent faculty member in mid-August 2018.

Awards

  • Salem Prize (2007)
  • SASTRA Ramanujan Prize (2008)
  • Infosys Prize (2016)
  • Ostrowski Prize (2017)
  • Fields Medal (2018)
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Akshay Venkatesh, Fields Medal 2018's Timeline

1981
November 21, 1981
New Delhi, DL, India