Public Release: 

Dr. Rita Colwell's statement on recipients of Fields Medal and Rolf Nevanlinna Prize in Mathematics

National Science Foundation

I am pleased to congratulate Vladimir Voevodsky and Madhu Sudan on receiving the most distinguished prizes in the mathematical sciences. Their accomplishments reflect the recognition that mathematics underlies all fields of science and engineering, enabling progress in our economy, our industry and our lives. We are proud that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has supported the groundbreaking work of these honorees.

The Fields Medal, the world's highest honor for mathematical research, rivals the Nobels of other sciences. Vladimir Voevodsky, currently at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., shares the 2002 Fields Medal with Laurent Lafforgue, a colleague in France. Dr. Voevodsky conducted his prize-winning research in algebraic geometry and number theory, developing novel ways to describe the geometric shapes of solutions to algebraic equations, with support from NSF grants.

Madhu Sudan, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, is receiving the 2002 Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, which recognizes outstanding work in the mathematical aspects of computer science. His work in advancing the theory of probabilistically checkable proofs--a way to recast a mathematical proof in computer language for additional checks on its validity--and developing error-correcting codes was accomplished with the support of an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award and individual grants.

People are essential to scientific development, and NSF has a distinguished record of identifying people for federal support who go on to receive global honors. As the only federal agency that funds basic research in all fields of science and engineering, NSF's investments ensure a more secure and productive future. In congratulating these honorees, we reaffirm the contribution of mathematical scientists to that goal.

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For background on the Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize see: www.mathunion.org/medals/index.html

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