Originating in 2003, the annual Abel Prize is given out by the King of Norway to mathematicians who have greatly influenced their field. The prize includes a cash award of 6 million Norwegian kroner, which is equivalent to about 700,000 U.S dollars.
Uhlenbeck, 76, is well-known for her work with partial differential equations. Although, her decades-long career spans multiple disciplines, including physics, geometry and quantum theory.
One of Uhlenbeck’s most famous contributions was her theories of predictive mathematics inspired by soap bubbles. The thin, curved surface area of a soap-bubble is an example of a “minimal surface,” a surface that forms itself into a shape that takes up the least amount of area. Examining how these surfaces behave can help researchers better understand a wide amount of phenomena across a wide array of scientific studies.
“Uhlenbeck’s research has led to revolutionary advances at the intersection of mathematics and physics,” Paul Goldbart, a dean at the University of Texas said in a release. “Her pioneering insights have applications across a range of fascinating subjects, from string theory, which may help explain the nature of reality, to the geometry of space-time.”
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