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Presented the Abel Prize 2015

Today, His Majesty The King presented the Abel Prize for 2015 to John Forbes Nash, Jr. and Louis Nirenberg for their contributions in the field of partial differential equations and geometric analysis.


Although it is relatively new, the Abel Prize is one of the most prestigious awards a mathematician can receive. The prize was established in 2002 in connection with the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.

In its citation, the Abel Committee states that it is awarding the prize of NOK 6 million to this year’s laureates “for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis”.

Award ceremony in the Aula

The formal award ceremony at the Aula of the University of Oslo is the highlight of the four-day celebration of the Abel Laureates in Oslo and Bergen. King Harald presented the award to Professor Nash and Professor Nirenberg, to whom he had granted an audience at the Royal Palace earlier in the day.

Yesterday, the Abel Laureates lay a wreath at the Niels Henrik Abel monument in the Palace Park. The monument was sculpted by Gustav Vigeland.

The laureates

John Nash received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994 for his work in the field of game theory, and was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind”. The mathematical community, however, regards Nash’s contributions to geometry and geometric analysis as his most important work, and it is for these that he is being recognised with the Abel Prize.

Canadian Louis Nirenberg studied mathematics and physics at McGill University in Montreal. He earned his Ph.D. at New York University (NYU), where he remained for the duration of his career. Professor Nirenberg also served as director of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU, one of the world’s leading research centres for applied mathematics.

Banquet hosted by the Government

This evening, the Government is holding a banquet at Akershus Castle in honour of the Abel Laureates. King Harald will be in attendance during the banquet, which will be hosted by Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen. Mr Røe Isaksen and Professor Robert L. Bryant will speak, and soprano Lise Davidsen and pianist Markus Kvist will entertain the guests with pieces by Grieg and Wagner.  

In addition to meeting with the Abel Laureates and their wives, Kong Harald will have an opportunity to meet Kenneth Marthinsen and Egil Reidar Osnes, who represent the mathematics department at Hellerud Upper Secondary School, which is this year’s winner of the Holmboe Prize. The King will also meet Muxuan Yan, one of the winners of the 2015 Norwegian Mathematical Olympiad.


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