DULUTH — Manjul Bhargava, who participated in UMD Professor Joseph Gallian’s Summer Math Research Experience for Undergraduates in 1995, has been awarded the 2014 Fields Medal.
Officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, the Fields Medal is awarded every four years by the International Congress of Mathematicians and is considered comparable to the Nobel Prize in the math world. Gallian attended the award ceremony in Seoul, South Korea as Bhargava’s official guest. The medal was presented to Bhargava by South Korea President Park Geun-hye.
Manjul Bhargava, the R. Brandon Fradd Professor of Mathematics at Princeton, received a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2001 and was hired at the rank of full professor at Princeton in 2003, the second youngest full professor in Princeton history.
Bhargava counts Gallian as one of his mentors. “He has this enthusiasm that’s very contagious and people get very excited about what they’re working on,” he said in a previous interview. “It was one of the most enjoyable and productive summers I’ve ever had,” Bhargava said about his research at UMD.
Gallian said Bhargava was already working on innovative research at UMD in 1995, “I gave him a number theory problem and he had an ingenious approach.”
Quanta Magazine describes Bhargava’s work as “some of the most profound recent discoveries in number theoryâ€¦ In the past few years, he has made great strides toward understanding the range of possible solutions to equations which have bedeviled number theorists for more than a century.”
“His work is better than world-class,” said Ken Ono, a number theorist at Emory University in Atlanta. “It’s epoch-making... Bhargava lives in a wonderful, ethereal world of music and art.”
“All of us are in awe of the beauty of his work,” said Harvard number theorist Benedict Gross.
Bhargava is the first United States citizen to win the Fields Medal since 1998. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences at age 38 in 2013.