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Fields Medal Recognition Linked to Work at UT Austin

Fields Medal Recognition Linked to Work at UT Austin

The Fields Medal is sometimes called the Nobel Prize of math – only this prize is given just once every four years. The 34-year-old mathematician announced as its winner today spent most of his career on the University of Texas at Austin's Forty Acres, making mathematical breakthroughs with applications for everything from meteorology to economic decisions about how to move and distribute materials.

Former UT Austin professor Alessio Figalli, one of four 2018 Fields Medal winners announced today, works in an area of mathematical analysis known as optimal transport. As a faculty member at the University from 2009-2016, his groundbreaking work led to a series of international prizes and honors that preceded today's announcement. These include the European Mathematical Society (EMS) Prize, the Stampacchia Gold Medal from the Italian Mathematical Union and the Peccot-Vimont Prize given by the College of France.

At the Fields Medal ceremony, which is part of the International Congress of Mathematicians' meeting happening this week in Rio de Janeiro, award-winning UT Austin math professor Luis Caffarelli introduced Figalli.

Coverage of Figalli's award this week has appeared in a range of publications, including The New York Times. Multiple outlets including EurekAlert: The Global Source for Science News and an in-depth profile in ​Quanta magazine, mentioned Figalli's close Texas ties. In describing the mathematical specialization for a layperson audience, Quanta went into some detail about a collaboration between Figalli and faculty member Francesco Maggi. 

Caffarelli, Maggi, and other members of the UT math faculty appear, along with many familiar places around Austin, in a video the International Congress of Mathematicians published today in conjunction with the award announcement.

Prior to relocating to ETH Zurich, Figalli also was the only mathematician to ever win the The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas' award for outstanding scientific achievement, the Peter O'Donnell Award. 

UT Austin Math Department and College of Natural Sciences faculty, staff and students gathered to celebrate today's Fields Medal announcement.

UT revelers raise a glass in Figalli's honor.
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Monday, 30 January 2023

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