Thursday, 2 August 2018

Professor Akshay Venkatesh, believed to be one of The University of Western Australia’s youngest graduates, is only the second Australian to have been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious mathematical awards – the Fields Medal.

Often thought of as the Nobel Prize for mathematicians, the Fields Medal is awarded to two to four researchers worldwide under 40 years old to recognise outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and for the promise of future achievement. The prizewinners were announced today at the International Congress of Mathematicians, held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The medal is named after the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields (1863-1932), who conceived the award to celebrate the great achievements in the area. In addition to the gold medal, the prize offers a cash amount of $15,000 Canadian (AUD $15,488).

Professor Venkatesh was just 12 when he won medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad and the International Physics Olympiad and in 1995, at the tender age of 13 and believed to be the University’s youngest commencing student, he embarked on a Bachelor of Science at UWA.

After completing his degree (with first class honours) in three rather than four years, he graduated in March 1998 at the age of 16, having won many prizes including the JA Wood Memorial Prize for the most outstanding graduating student.

Professor Venkatesh won a Hackett Scholarship from UWA to undertake a PhD at Princeton University, which he received in 2002. Currently working as a Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University, he plans to return to Princeton this year.

Professor Venkatesh, whose research is in pure mathematics and specifically number theory and related areas, has returned to UWA twice as Professor at Large for the Institute of Advanced Studies.

Media references

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