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Gleiser wins Templeton Prize and Uhlenbeck wins Abel Prize

Brazilian physicist and astronomer Marcelo Gleiser (60) was awarded 2019 Templeton Prize worth $1.4 million for his work on blending science and spirituality. It makes him first Latin American to win this award.

About Marcelo Gleiser

  • Gleiser is theoretical physicist and views that science and religion are not enemies. He has described science as a spiritual quest to understand origins of the universe and life on earth.
  • He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to an influential family in the city’s Jewish community. He was educated in Brazil and Britain.
  • Currently he is professor at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. He joined physics and astronomy department of Dartmouth in 1991.
  • He has written best-selling books and appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, discussing science as spiritual quest to understand origins of universe and life on Earth.

About Templeton Prize

  • It is awarded annually on person for outstanding his/her contributions in affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.
  • It was instituted in 1973 by US-based John Templeton Foundation, which promotes dialogue and research on issues ranging from evolution to forgiveness.
  • It was originally awarded to people working in the field of religion, but in 1980s its scope was broadened to include people working at intersection of science and religion.

Mother Teresa was the first winner in 1973. Some of its other recipients include Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1975), Dalai Lama (2012) etc. In 2018, it was awarded to King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Karen Uhlenbeck: First woman to win Abel Prize for maths

Renowned American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck (76) became first women to be awarded prestigious Abel Prize 2019. She was awarded for her fundamental work in geometric analysis and gauge theory, which has dramatically changed mathematical landscape.

Contribution to mathematics

Her mathematics theories have revolutionised understanding of minimal surfaces, such as those formed by soap bubbles, and more general minimisation problems in higher dimensions.

She has developed tools and methods in global analysis, which are now in toolbox of every geometer and analyst. She is also strong advocate for gender equality in science and mathematics.

Abel Prize

  • It is awarded annually on outstanding mathematicians by by Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters,
  • It was established in 2001 by Government of Norway. It is named after Niels Henrik Abel, 19th century Norwegian mathematician.
  • It is one of world’s top prizes in mathematics and is often considered as maths equivalent of Nobel Prize, which has no prize for mathematics.
  • It carries monetary award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) (around $7,03,000).

Indian-American mathematician R. Srinivasa Varadhan had won this award in 2007 for creating unified theory of large deviation and for his contributions to probability theory.

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