Texas Mathematician John Tate Wins Abel Prize, Highest Distinction in Mathematics Internationally

March 24, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize for 2010 to John Tate, professor emeritus of mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin, for his vast and lasting impact on the theory of numbers.

The Abel Prize is the highest honor in the field of mathematics and recognizes contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to the mathematical sciences. It carries a cash award of $1 million.

Dr. John Tate

Dr. John Tate, professor emeritus of mathematics and winner of the 2010 Abel Prize.

The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils Christian Stenseth, announced the winner of the Abel Prize at the Academy in Oslo today, March 24.

Tate will receive the Abel Prize at an award ceremony in Oslo on May 25.

The theory of numbers stretches from the mysteries of prime numbers to the ways in which we store, transmit and secure information in modern computers. Over the past century it has developed into one of the most elaborate and sophisticated branches of mathematics, interacting profoundly with other key areas.

Tate is a prime architect of this development.

His scientific accomplishments span six decades. A wealth of essential mathematical ideas and constructions were initiated by Tate and later named after him, such as the Tate module, Tate curve, Tate cycle, Hodge-Tate decompositions, Tate cohomology, Serre-Tate parameter, Lubin-Tate group, Tate trace, Shafarevich-Tate group and Néron-Tate height, to mention a few.

According to the Abel committee, "Many of the major lines of research in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry are only possible because of the incisive contributions and illuminating insights of John Tate. He has truly left a conspicuous imprint on modern mathematics."

Tate joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1990, after teaching at Harvard University for 36 years. He recently retired from his position as professor and the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin.

Tate has received many awards and honors. As early as 1956, he was awarded the American Mathematical Society's Cole Prize for outstanding contributions to number theory. In 1995, Tate received the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the American Mathematical Society.

Tate was honored "for his creation of fundamental concepts in algebraic number theory" when he shared the Wolf Prize in Mathematics with Mikio Sato in 2002-2003.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1969, named a foreign member of the French Académie des sciences in 1992 and an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society in 1999.

The Abel Prize was awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for the first time in 2003. The choice of Abel Laureate is based on the recommendation of the Abel Committee, which consists of five internationally recognized mathematicians.

For more information about the laureate, his achievements and the Abel Prize, visit the Abel Prize Web site www.abelprisen.no/en/.

For more information, contact: Lee Clippard, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 512-232-0104.

23 Comments to "Texas Mathematician John Tate Wins Abel Prize, Highest Distinction in Mathematics Internationally"

1.  Håkan Holgersson said on March 24, 2010

Congratulations! I am an amateur mathematician from Jamtland who studies elliptic curves. I have read the book you wrote with Silverman. It is great. You were my pick for Abel. Though I didn't gamble on it.

2.  Manuel Morales said on March 24, 2010

In all humbleness, I am honored to be alive and attend this university with so many amazing "nows" and thank YOU for making your now-existence one to be shared and understood. I love YOU not knowing you. Gracias y bien merecido tienes este reconocimiento desde lo profundo y grande que soy, gracias!

3.  Junaid Yisa said on March 24, 2010


4.  patricia l. harper said on March 25, 2010

John, This is wonderful news. My most hearty congratulations to you. Love, Patty

5.  Anonymous said on March 26, 2010

I am not a mathematician, but this was the best news I have received today! I read that on Daily Texan this morning. This is wonderful that he is working in this area for more than 60 years and still he has passion for his job. I particularly enjoyed that part in the news item that he talked to an undergraduate to help her get into a graduate school. This is great: Imagine an undergrad goes to a scholar and asks him about grad school, and he patiently talks to her. I admire him not for his mathematics, but for his personality.

Congratulations, Dr. Tate!

6.  Elizabeth Hastings said on March 30, 2010

Wonderful! Congratulations, Dr. Tate!

7.  Jahn Veach said on March 31, 2010

A well-deserved honor for a pioneer of modern algebra. Congratulations.

8.  UT Student said on March 31, 2010

Freaking AWESOME!!

9.  Felicia Bills said on April 1, 2010

Congratulations! I was honored to be in the same hallways with such a great mind as yours. You deserve every bit of your reward.

10.  J. Lynne Higgins said on April 1, 2010

Lead on! We need more thinkers of your stature.

11.  William J. Keith said on April 1, 2010

I had a writing-component class with Prof. Tate as an undergraduate. It wasn't until I was in graduate school getting my math doctorate that I learned how important his contributions are; when I did, I wished I had made better use of the time I had in his office!

Congratulations, Prof. Tate!

12.  Faraydon Karim said on April 2, 2010

Dr. Tate, I have learned alot from your work. Congratulations, well-deserved.

13.  Dr. N.C.O. Aduba said on April 2, 2010

Hearty Congratulations.
In the words of the great poets - Coleridge and Virgil - You have followed knowledge beyond the utmost bounds of human thoughts.
You have also bequethed to generations to come and added to the inheritance you met at birth as we were all admonished to do by the great An Wang.

14.  Praveen Gupta said on April 2, 2010

I am terrible in math but our son graduated in Computer Science and Economics from UT. So proud to read this great news on a great man's great achievement!

15.  Praveen Gupta said on April 2, 2010

I am terrible in math but our son graduated in Comp Science & Economics from UT. So proud to read this great news on a great man's great achievement!!!


16.  Lon Clay Hill said on April 2, 2010

It seems somewhat elliptical that Apollonius's theoretical curves were used to unlock the actual workings of the solar system & then lead to the emminently paractical law of gravity. Now the curves & their functions lead back to the (partially) 'useless' methods to factor numbers with 20 or 40 digits. And we are led to a conundrum: Are truth & nature simple or hyperly & curvaceously complex - or both!??
Lon Clay Hill

17.  Prof. Bhadra Man (Nepal) said on April 2, 2010

Congratulations from the President of Nepal Mathematical Society. I have attended the award ceremony in Oslo in 2005 and 2007. If situation permits I will attend this time, too.

18.  Paul Damien said on April 2, 2010

Congratulations, Professor Tate!

19.  Alexander Anyaehie said on April 4, 2010

Congratulations, Dr. Tate! It is my pleasure to have someone like you during my lifetime. Sir, I like statistics more than I do for mathematics. Thanks again Dr. and God bless.

20.  Per Sigurd Hundeland said on May 28, 2010

See photos from the event where Tate met Norwegian children at the University of Agder (Abel's home place).

Best wishes from the University of Agder.

Per Sigurd Hundeland, associate professor in mathematics education

21.  Prof. Shirley B. Gray said on June 21, 2010

Permission request:

May I use the photo on this page on a "pop down" birthday page dedicated to John Tate?

22.  Dirgha Narayan Kafle said on July 17, 2010

Congratulations. This is a great achievement.

23.  diallo said on Oct. 30, 2010

congratulation Mr Tate I wanna accomplish so much things like you see more...