Abel Prize 2013 goes to Pierre Deligne, and Milner Prize to Alexandre Polyakov

The Abel prize in mathematics for 2013 has been awarded to Pierre Deligne for his work on algebraic geometry which has been applied to number theory and representation theory. This is research that is at the heart of some of the most exciting mathematics of our time with deep implications that could extend out from pure mathematics to physics.

Deligne is from Belgium and works at IAS Princeton.

I obviously can’t beat the commentary from Tim Gowers who once again spoke at the announcement about what the achievement means, so see his blog if you are interested in what it is all about.

Update: Also today the fundamental Physics Prize went to Polyakov, another worthy choice.

Update: Some bloggers such as Strassler and Woit seem uncertain this morning about whether Polyakov got the prize. He did. They played a strange trick on the audience watching the live webcast from CERN by running a 20 minute film just before the final award. They did not have broadcast rights for the film so they had to stop the webcast. After that the webcast resumed but you had to refresh your browser at the right moment to get it back. The final award to Polyakov was immediately after the film so many people would have missed it. I saw most of it and can confirm that Polyakov was the only one who finished the night with two balls (so to speak). To make matters worse there does not seem to have been a press announcement yet so it is not being reported in mainstream news, but that will surely change this morning. As bloggers we are grateful to Milner for this chance to be ahead of the MSM again.

I would have done a screen grab to get a picture of Polyakov but CERN have recently changed their copyright terms so that we cannot show images from CERN without satisfying certain conditions. This contrasts sharply with US government rules which ensure that any images or video taken from US research organisations are public domain without conditions.

5 Responses to Abel Prize 2013 goes to Pierre Deligne, and Milner Prize to Alexandre Polyakov

  1. hansvanleunen says:

    I am sure that number theory and representation theory form the fundaments of physics.

    The Hilbert Book Model proves this. It takes quantum logic as its foundation. This directly leads to quaternionic quantum physics.

  2. Vladimir Kalitvianski says:

    Nobody knows that, but, apart from Polyakov-‘t_Hooft monopole, there is a neutral magnetic monopole as a solution to the classical Dirac-Maxwell equations for a self-acting electron (see Chris Radford’s papers on arXiv). I hope it looks absurd and ridiculous, and I hope it is completely wrong. But maybe it is another way to demonstrate that the self-interaction idea is unphysical.

    • Orwin O'Dowd says:

      The new insight into this old problem is due to T. Reisz who found a topological basis for lattice QCD representations. It a good example of how important it is to take representaiton seriously and examine it critically.


      He’s telling us that there’s an intrinsic and universal axial anomaly in physics since Dirac. I’m pretty sure Dirac intuited this and thought he could conjure a particle (and a Nobel?). Of course the axial anomaly is symmetrical, and there must be a still point between. This does mean, though, that the axes as they emerge on the surface are NOT localized, so no, you cant trace any exact geometry with Dirac operators, or talk about exact space-time events.

      It could help to ditch the Born-Infeld statistical interpretation (NOT COPENHAGEN, PLEASE) and admit an intrinsic uncertainty in the Dirac formalism, with a dimension of mass.That’s my interest in the question.

  3. Peter Woit says:

    Hi Phil,
    While I was out early yesterday evening, someone I know who was at the ceremony e-mailed me with the Polyakov news. I wasn’t ever in doubt about this, posted on the blog when I got home, explaining where I got the news from.

    I don’t know what Matt’s original source was or why he changed his posting to describe the news as “unsubstantiated rumor”.

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