Rutgers Professor Wins ‘Nobel Prize’ of Mathematics
Order and reason are a mathematicianâ€™s tools. In the hands of a very select few, however, those tools can transform an abstract discipline into art. That, in large part, is why the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced that Endre SzemerÃ©di, a 71-year-old Rutgers professor, had won the 2012 Abel Prize, the unofficial Nobel Prize in mathematics.
SzemerÃ©diâ€™s field is discrete mathematics, specifically combinatorics, which is the science of number sequences or arithmetical progressions. In 1975, then in his mid-30s, SzemerÃ©di proved that arithmetical progressions of any length â€” five, 10, 10,000, etc. â€” can be found in any positive sequence of integers. That principle has inspired a generation of mathematicians in their own work and resulted in new theorems and proofs, all of which credit SzemerÃ©diâ€™s initial breakthrough.