Stanford Mathematics Professor Yakov Eliashberg awarded Wolf Prize

Stanford mathematics professor Yakov “Yasha” Eliashberg has allegedly been awarded the 2020 Wolf Prize in Mathematics. He received this prize for his contributions to differential geometry and topology.

The Wolf Prize, incepted in 1978, recognizes “outstanding scientists and artists from around the world … for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples.” The wolf is considered the closest equivalent to a Nobel Prize in mathematics.

Eliashberg, who is the Herald L. and Caroline L. Ritch Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences is the third math professor from Stanford to receive the Wolf Prize in Mathematics. Joseph Keller was the first professor from Stanford to receive Wolf prize in 1996-1997 and Richard Schoen was the second to receive the prize in 2017.

Speaking about the award, Eliashberg said, “When I learned of the news, I was surprised and very excited because this is a very famous prize and one that many of my mathematical heroes have received.”

However, Eliashberg got this prize jointly with Sir Simon Donaldson. Sir Simon is a mathematician at Stony Brook University in New York and Imperial College London in the UK. Eliashberg will share this year’s $100,000 prize with Sir Simon.

Eliashberg further said, “I’m extremely honored to be recognized together with Simon.”

The Wolf Foundation in a statement said, “The emergence of symplectic and contact topology has been one of the most striking long-term advances in mathematical research over the past four decades.”

Chair of Stanford’s Department of Mathematics, Rafe Mazzeo said, “Yasha’s work played a key role in this evolution. His influence across mathematics is extraordinary. The Wolf Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics, and it is a richly deserved honor for Yasha to be a recipient of this prize. The Math Department is very proud to see him receive this distinction.”

Eliashberg further added that he never expected that he would be a recipient of the Wolf. He said, Of course, you’re always pleased when other people see your work as interesting and important, but you never think of yourself or your work in that way.”