Peter Sarnak has been awarded the 2014 Wolf Prize in Mathematics. A mathematician of extremely broad spectrum and far-reaching vision, Sarnak has influenced the development of several mathematical fields, often by uncovering deep and unsuspected connections. (Photo by Andrea Kane.)
"By his insights and his readiness to share ideas he has inspired the work of students and fellow researchers in many areas of mathematics," the Wolf Foundation said. Sarnak is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University and is a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He received his PhD in 1980 under the direction of Paul Cohen. In 2003, Sarnak and his co-author Nicholas Katz received the AMS Conant Prize for their article "Zeroes of zeta functions and symmetry", Bulletin of the AMS 36 1-26 (1999). Sarnak also received the AMS Cole Prize in Number Theory in 2005, for his fundamental contributions to number theory and in particular his book Random Matrices, Frobenius Eigenvalues and Monodromy, written jointly with Katz. Sarnak's expository article "What is an expander?", AMS Notices, August 2004, gives a flavor of his mathematical outlook.
A brief description of Sarnak's work appears on the Wolf Foundation web site:
Prof. Sarnak is a mathematician of an extremely broad spectrum with a far-reaching vision. He has impacted the development of several mathematical fields, often by uncovering deep and unsuspected connections. In analysis, he investigated eigenfunctions of quantum mechanical Hamiltonians which correspond to chaotic classical dynamical systems in a series of fundamental papers. He formulated and supported the “Quantum Unique Ergodicity Conjecture” asserting that all eigenfunctions of the Laplacian on negatively curved manifolds are uniformly distributed in phase space. Sarnak's introduction of tools from number theory into this domain allowed him to obtain results which had seemed out of reach and paved the way for much further progress, in particular the recent works of E. Lindenstrauss and N. Anantharaman. In his work on L-functions (jointly with Z. Rudnick) the relationship of contemporary research on automorphic forms to random matrix theory and the Riemann hypothesis is brought to a new level by the computation of higher correlation functions of the Riemann zeros. This is a major step forward in the exploration of the link between random matrix theory and the statistical properties of zeros of the Riemann zeta function going back to H. Montgomery and A. Odlyzko. In 1999 it culminates in the fundamental work, jointly with N. Katz, on the statistical properties of low-lying zeros of families of L-functions. Sarnak’s work (with A. Lubotzky and R. Philips) on Ramanujan graphs had a huge impact on combinatorics and computer science. Here again he used deep results in number theory to make surprising and important advances in another discipline.
The Wolf Prize is an international award granted in Israel, that has been presented most years since 1978 to living scientists and artists for "achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples ... irrespective of nationality, race, colour, religion, sex or political views."
Source: AMS (http://www.ams.org/news?news_id=2138)
and Wolf Foundation (http://www.wolffund.org.il/index.php?dir=site&page=winners&cs=793&language=eng)