Indian American mathematician is awarded the Abel Prize. ‘The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2007 to Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York. He receives the prize “for his fundamental contributions to probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large deviation”.
Probability theory is the mathematical tool for analyzing situations governed by chance. The theory of large deviations studies the occurrence of rare events. This subject has concrete applications to fields as diverse as physics, biology, economics, statistics, computer science, and engineering.’
S.R.S Varadhan by Professor Tom Louis Lindstrøm (PDF). ‘Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan was born in Madras (Chennai), India in 1940. He got his B. Sc. from Presidency College in 1959 and his Ph.D. from the Indian Statistical Institute in 1963. Since 1963 he has been working at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. The Courant Institute — one the worlds leading centers of applied mathematics — is also the home institution of the 2005 Abel Laureate, Peter Lax.
Although his work is often motivated by problems in neighboring fields such as mathematical physics and partial differential equations, Varadhan is primarily a probabilist. Historically, probability theory started as an attempt to understand simple games of chance, often with betting involved. In such games there is a finite number of possible outcomes, and the task is to find the probability of each one. Although this may sound simple, these problems often require a lot ingenuity (…)’