UT-Austin Professor Awarded Prestigious Math Prize, $1.2 Million

AUSTIN, TX — A professor at the University of Texas at Austin has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious awards for mathematics that comes with a $1.2 million monetary prize, officials said Monday.

Luis Caffarelli, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair in Mathematics #1 at The University of Texas at Austin, is a recipient of one of the world’s biggest prizes for mathematics, the 2018 Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences, university officials said. Awarded by the Hong Kong-based Shaw Foundation, the Shaw Prize honors recent breakthroughs by researchers in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, and life science and medicine.

This is the first Shaw Prize awarded to a faculty member at UT Austin since its inception in 2002, school officials noted. In 2013, UT Austin alumnus and Nobel laureate Michael Young (Ph.D. ’75) was a co-recipient of the Shaw Prize for Life Science and Medicine, university officials added.

Caffarelli is being recognized "…for his groundbreaking work on partial differential equations, including creating a theory of regularity for nonlinear equations such as the Monge–Ampère equation, and free-boundary problems such as the obstacle problem, work that has influenced a whole generation of researchers in the field," according to the prize citation.

According to university-provided biographical information, Caffarelli is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received numerous honors and awards including the Rolf Schock Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the American Mathematical Society and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics from the Wolf Foundation.

Caffarelli is also a professor in UT Austin’s Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences. He is widely considered as a pioneer in methods tackling many classical problems that have long defied mathematicians. He has done seminal work connected to Navier-Stokes equations (whose understanding is one of the Clay Mathematics Millennium Prize Problems), and he is also widely recognized as the world’s leading specialist in free-boundary problems for nonlinear partial differential equations, officials said.

Along with his collaborators, Caffarelli has authored more than 250 scientific publications documenting this work. The 2018 Shaw Prizes will be presented at a ceremony Sept. 26 in Hong Kong.

>>> Photo of Luis Caffarelli courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin

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