Top Secret of Abel Prize


Abelprize committee
It was probably one of the coldest days of last January in St. Petersburg. But it was hot, really hot to a press conference in St. Petersburg University, because journalists tried to get a name, but Professor Nils Christian Stenseth, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters smiled and promised to announce the name only on March 26. “I do not know yet myself” – he said. Who knew the name for sure – the members of Abel Committee. These five famous mathematicians also attended the press conference, but they just confirmed: the winner of Abel Prize (amounts to NOK 6 million -approximately EUR 800,000 or USD 1 million) will be announced on March, the Abel ceremony itself will be in May. And this was the only information regarding the winner.

But journalists heard also some intriguing news: Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters is giving a grant for Russian science journalist to attend the Abel week in Oslo. This time the honor to name a winner went to Russian members of EUSJA, and they chose their colleague to represent them in Oslo. However this is just the beginning of a prosperous collaboration between EUSJA and Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The collaboration includes not just Abel events in Oslo, but for example also Heidelberg Forum. This annual event has to help young researchers to meet outstanding scientists – Abel and Turing prize winners, Fields medalists. Last September the number of EUSJA members attended Heidelberg Forum (see the post of Olga Baklitskaya-Kameneva “Indian Summer 2013 in Heidelberg” to our web page -http://www.eusja.org/indian-summer-2013-in-heidelberg-5/). We expect science journalists will participate the next meetings in Heidelberg.

Hopefully they will meet also a new Abel Prize winner who is a top secret for the moment. Why St. Petersburg has been chosen by Abel Committee for its important meeting? This is no secret. Since the prize is international, the Committee usually meets in different cities. St. Petersburg is a mother land of numerous mathematicians: Russian winner of Abel Prize Michael Gromov for example or Professor Stanislav Smirnov, one of the five Abel Committee members. On behalf of the Committee and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters the St. Petersburg State University and the St. Petersburg Department of Stecklov Institute of Mathematics RAS were hosting a one-day conference.

Later the scientists and science journalists were invited to the Norwegian Consulate General in St. Petersburg. You see on the picture (photographer Leidolv Magelssen) Consul General Heidi Olufsen (the third from left to right) with the members of Abel Committee Gang Tian (Princeton University, USA, School of Mathematical Sciences, Beijing University, China), Ragni Piene (University of Oslo, Norway, chair), Cédric Villani (Institut Henri Poincaré og Université de Lyon, France), Maria J. Esteban (CEREMADE, Paris, France), Stanislav Smirnov (University of Geneva, Switzerland).
These five will keep the secret of Abel Prize till March. No chance to get it earlier. But there is a chance for science journalists to be involved in fascinated ceremony. Only one grant for this May, but there will be much more slots for September to meet famous mathematicians. Visit our page: EUSJA will keep you updated.

About Viola Egikova

Viola Egikova - science journalist based in Moscow, president of Intellect, Vice-President of the European Union of Science Journalists' Associations, Programme Coordinator of All Russia Science Festival