Distinguished mathematician John Tate *50, who has been selected to receive the 2010 Abel Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, has left a lasting mark on the theory of numbers. In fact, more than a dozen important mathematical concepts bear his name, including the Tate conjecture, the Tate module, Tate cohomology, the Tate duality theorem, Barsotti-Tate groups, the Tate motive, and Tate’s algorithm.
As University of Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy wrote, “[M]athematicians have coined a new concept: the Tate index, defined as the time it takes to give a talk on number theory before you mention the name Tate. In general this is a very small number.”
Tate’s revolutionary thinking began with his Ph.D. work at Princeton. His dissertation, or “Tate’s thesis,” continues to be a lecture topic in college-level courses.
Tate taught at Harvard University for 36 years and spent the last two decades as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin before retiring in 2009. He will receive the Abel Prize, which carries a cash award of 6 million kroner (about $1 million), from King Harald of Norway in Oslo May 25.
(Photo by Charlie Fondville)
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