Karen Uhlenbeck Awarded
2019 Abel Prize
She agreed to give an interview to Cirm...
1. I would like to understand how one becomes Karen Uhlenbeck, the first woman honoured with the Abel Prize…
Let’s talk about your first mathematical memories. What was your first encounter with mathematics (your first mathematical 'shock wave')?
In what environment did you grow up? Intellectual? Politicised? Scientist? Artistic?
2. When did you know you would make it your job? Did it happen gradually or did it click? A love at first sight?
3. Could you tell us about yourself as a mathematician, about your research and your collaborations?
4. Could you have chosen another path?
5. During your student years and at the start of your career, who influenced you the most? And also now perhaps… What experiences and people were especially influential on your mathematical education?
6. And at what point did you know that your research areas would be differential geometry, non-linear partial differential equations and mathematical physics?
7. Do you remember your first "Eureka"? Or the most memorable? For what demonstration? What feelings, sensations do we feel at that moment? Could you describe it? The excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new…
8. How do you do mathematics? How do you work? Do you need to be alone to stay focused, to share, to be in contact with nature? What is the path to creation? The solution?
9. Which mathematician has revolutionized everything in your opinion? The most innovative?
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the 2019 Abel Prize to Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck whose affiliation with the Institute for Advanced Study spans four decades, as a current Visitor in the School of Mathematics and a former Member and Visiting Professor in the School. Professor Emerita of Mathematics and Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair at the University of Texas at Austin, Uhlenbeck was cited by the Abel Committee “for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.”