2016 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Exact Sciences
In Field: Mathematics
Prof. David Kazhdan was born in Moscow in 1946. By age 20 he had completed a Master’s degree in Mathematics at Moscow State University, and two years later completed his Ph.D. For six years he worked as a researcher at the university’s laboratory for applied mathematics in biology. Subsequently, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University and at the Einstein Institute at Hebrew University. In 1993, he was appointed to head the Mathematics Department at Harvard and later became Head of the Mathematical Physics Program at the School for Advanced Studies at Princeton University. Between 1977 and 2002 he served as Full Professor at Harvard, and for the last 14 years has been Professor of Mathematics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
For many years he has been considered the world’s greatest expert in representation theory and its uses in algebra, algebraic geometry and number theory. Central to his academic work is the idea of groups – a mathematical term describing symmetry, whether combinatorial, geometric, physical or arithmetic. Already at age 22 he discovered the T property, since named for him, and its importance in the understanding of representation of linear groups and their discrete sub-groups. Representations of linear groups are central to his research; they represent groups of linear transformations in vector spaces of finite or infinite dimensions. In many cases, the groups themselves carry a geometric or topological structure, making it possible to demand various technical requirements of the representations. He has also made an important contribution to the field of automorphic representations and their uses in number theory. As a young man he discovered, in collaboration with his mentor Israel Gelfand, the main properties of modular forms of smooth representations of p-adic reductive groups.
His work has earned him awards and merits, including a MacArthur Fellowship and membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Israel Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also received the Rothschild Prize and the Israel Prize.