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Abel Prize to Michel Talagrand: once again, French excellence in mathematics is recompensed

22 mars 2024 キャリア
Vue 373 回

The Abel Prize, considered with the Fields medal as one of the prizes as prestigious as the Nobel prize for mathematics, has just been granted to French mathematician Michel Talagrand. The researcher, former research director at the CNRS, is rewarded for his groundbreaking work in mathematical probabilities. The prize award ceremony will take place in Oslo on 21 May.

“It’s a great pride to see once again the excellence of French research recompensed”, said the French minister of higher education and research on X (formerly Twitter) at the announcement of the Abel Prize, a proof of how vivid French research in mathematics is.


Five mathematicians already awarded

The Abel Prize was created in 2001 by the Norwegian government during the 200 years of the birth of mathematician Niels Henrik Abel. It is awarded every year to mathematicians by the Norwegian academy of sciences and letters. Since the creation, France received the prize five times, with mathematicians Jean-Pierre Serre (2003), Jacques Titis (2008), Mikhaïl Gromov (2009), Yves Meyer (2017) and, this year, Michel Talagrand.

Indeed, Michel Talagrand is “an exceptional and highly productive mathematician”, remarkable for his “groundbreaking contributions to probability theory and functional analysis, with outstanding applications in mathematical physics and statistics”, declared the president of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters during her award speech. A prize which choice relies on the recommendation of the Abel Committee made of five men and women mathematicians of international reputation.


A researcher with international reputation

“Mr. Talagrand receiving the Abel Prize is another proof of the excellence of French mathematics”. This is also the opinion of the director of the CNRS Mathematics when shedding light on the researcher’s career.

Michel Talagrand was born in Béziers (Occitanie region) in 1952 and passed his doctorate in mathematics in 1977 at the University of Paris VI before spending a few years at the USA Ohio State University. Talagrand was elected member of the Academy of Sciences and was appointed research director at the CNRS, in the Mathematics Institute of Jussieu for many years. Today, he is recompensed for his “groundbreaking contributions to probability theory and functional analysis, with outstanding applications in mathematical physics and statistics”. According to the CNRS, “his scientific contributions cover subjects ranging from theory of measurement and functional analysis to theory of probability and statistical physics”.


A researcher with many prizes

And the CNRS adds that “the common theme in Michel Talagrand’s groundbreaking discoveries is working with and understanding the random processes we see all around us.”, because the modern world is “a constant flow of random events”. And the CNRS continues by saying “understanding that randomness has impacts on everything from business logistics to condensed-matter physics, or weather forecasting and major language models”.

Thanks to all these scientific progress, Michel Talagrand received throughout his career over ten prizes including the Shaw Prize in 2019, which “salutes individuals who achieved significant breakthroughs in university or scientific research or their applications, with work having a deep and positive impact for humankind”.


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