New Haven professor wins international math prize

Special to the Ledger

NEW HAVEN — Dr. George Daniel Mostow of New Haven has been awarded the 2013 Wolf Foundation Prize, one of the top international awards for mathematicians.  Mostow is the Henry Ford II Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Yale University, and a former chairman of the mathematics department. He is renowned for his contributions to the Lie Theory,

The prestigious Wolf Prize in Mathematics is awarded annually by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. It is one of the five Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978. The other Prize categories include: agriculture, chemistry, medicine and physics. The prize in each field carries a monetary award of $100,000. To date, a total of 253 scientists and artists from 23 countries have been honored. Israel’s President Shimon Peres presented the prize to Mostow in May at a ceremony at the Knesset in Jerusalem.Mostow

Mostow was recognized by the Foundation for his fundamental and pioneering contribution to geometry and Lie group theory. In awarding Mostow the Prize, the Foundation noted, “His most celebrated accomplishment in this field is the discovery of the completely new rigidity phenomenon in geometry, the Strong Rigidity Theorems . These theorems are some of the greatest achievements in mathematics in the second half of the 20th century. In Mostow’s work one finds a stunning display of a variety of mathematical disciplines. Few mathematicians can compete with the breadth, depth, and originality of his works.”

A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1974, Mostow is a past president of the American Mathematical Society (1987–1988), and former trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1948 and was appointed to Yale in 1961, where he was professor until his retirement in 1999. He was awarded the AMS Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research in 1993 for his book Strong Rigidity of Locally Symmetric Spaces.

Mostow’s wife, Sidnie Mostow, together with four children and step-children, ten grandchildren, and their spouses, traveled from points spread out around the world to attend the Jerusalem event. Mostow, who will turn 90 on July 4, is also the great-grandfather of 14.

A longtime member of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Woodbridge, Mostow is a regular participant and Haftorah reader at the synagogue’s services. Over the years, he has frequently led the morning High Holidays’ Psukei Dzimra service.


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