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The Abel Prize 2003–2007: The First Five Years

Helge Holden and Ragni Piene, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Hardcover with CDROM
BLL Rating: 

The Basic Library List Committee recommends this book for acquisition by undergraduate mathematics libraries.

[Reviewed by
Fernando Q. Gouvêa
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Created in 2002 and first awarded in 2003, the Abel Prize comes the closest to being a "Nobel Prize in mathematics." Awarded every year by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and named for Niels Henrik Abel, the prize of 6 million Kröner (over a million dollars at this writing) recognizes a lifetime of work "of exceptional depth in and significance for the field of mathematics".  

After an honorary award in 2002 to Atle Selberg, the winners of the prize in the period covered by this book were

  • Jean-Pierre Serre in 2003
  • Michael Atiyah and Isadore Singer in 2004
  • Peter Lax in 2005
  • Lennart Carleson in 2006
  • Srinivasa Varadhan in 2007

For each winner, the book includes an autobiographical text, curriculum vitae and bibliography, photographs, and an extensive account of the mathematical work. A DVD included in the book contains interviews with each of the laureates.

This is a very well-made book. When the prize is awarded in 2012, we will have completed another five laureates. One can only hope that a second volume will be produced, and that it will be as nice as this one.

Fernando Q. Gouvêa is Carter Professor of Mathematics at Colby College in Waterville, ME.