Abel Prize 2020: Furstenberg and Margulis

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2020 to Hillel Furstenberg (left in the photo), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel​ and Gregory Margulis (right in the photo), Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA,
for pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics.

Hillel Furstenberg and Gregory Margulis invented random walk techniques to investigate mathematical objects such as groups and graphs, and in so doing introduced probabilistic methods to solve many open problems in group theory, number theory, combinatorics and graph theory. A random walk is a path consisting of a succession of random steps, and the study of random walks is a central branch of probability theory.
The works of Furstenberg and Margulis have demonstrated the effectiveness of crossing boundaries between separate mathematical disciplines and brought down the traditional wall between pure and applied mathematics
says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel committee. He continues:
Furstenberg and Margulis stunned the mathematical world by their ingenious use of probabilistic methods and random walks to solve deep problems in diverse areas of mathematics. This has opened up a wealth of new results, such as the existence of long arithmetic progressions of prime numbers, understanding the structure of lattices in Lie groups, and the construction of expander graphs with applications to communication technology and computer science, to mention a few.

Due to the corona pandemic there will not be a physical Laureate ceremony on May 19 this year. The honoring of the Abel Prize Laureates will be announced later.
press release

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