Some Lesser Known Facts About Akshay Venkatesh
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- Born in Delhi and raised in Perth, Akshay Venkatesh is one of the youngest mathematicians to win the prestigious Fields Medal, Mathematics’ top honour, also known as the Nobel Prize for Maths.
- When he was 2-years-old, his family moved to Perth in Australia from Delhi; where he attended Scotch College.
- In 1993, at the age of 11, he won a Bronze medal at the 24th International Physics Olympiad in Williamsburg, Virginia.
- In 1994, after being at second place in the Australian Mathematical Olympiad, Venkatesh won a silver medal in the 6th Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad. The same year, he won a Bronze medal in the International Mathematics Olympiad held in Hong Kong.
- In 1995, at the age of 13, Venkatesh entered the University of Western Australia as the youngest ever student at the institution, where he went straight into second-year maths courses after proving that he could write the exam papers for all the first-year subjects.
- In 1997, he was awarded First Class Honours in Pure Mathematics, the youngest ever to achieve this feat. The same year, Venkatesh was awarded the J. A. Woods Memorial Prize for being the leading graduating student of the year.
- In 1998, under Peter Sarnak, he commenced his PhD at the age of 17 at Princeton University, which he completed in 2002 at the age of 21.
- After being awarded a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Venkatesh served as a C.L.E. Moore instructor there.
- From 2004 to 2006, he held a Clay Research Fellowship from the Clay Mathematics Institute.
- He has also served as an associate professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
- From 2005 to 2006, Venkatesh served as a member of the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study.
- Since September 2008, Akshay Venkatesh has been a Profesor at Stanford University.
- Venkatesh has made contributions to a wide variety of areas in Mathematics including Number Theory, Representation Theory, Automorphic Forme, Ergodic Theory, and Locally Symmetric Spaces.
- Speaking at an event in 2016, he described his work as “looking for new patterns in the arithmetic of numbers.”
- Prof Cheryl Praeger, one of his early mentors, said he had always been “extraordinary.” Recalling her first meeting with Venkatesh when he was 11 years old, the professor said, “At our first meeting, I was speaking with Akshay’s mother, Svetha, while Akshay was sitting at a table in my office reading my blackboard which contained fragments from a supervision of one of my PhD students. “At Akshay’s request I explained what the problem was. He coped with quite a lot of detail and I found that he could easily grasp the essence of the research.”
- In an interview, Venkatesh said, “I decided that I wanted to be a professional mathematician towards the end of my undergraduation.” He also said that while going into his PhD, he wasn’t sure that he would be able to find a job as a mathematician.
- In 2018, after receiving the Fields Medal, the highest honour in Mathematics, he said: “A lot of the time when you do math, you’re stuck, but at the same time there are all these moments where you feel privileged that you get to work with it. You have this sensation of transcendence, you feel like you’ve been part of something really meaningful.”
- The other three who won the 2018 Fields Medal are Alessio Figalli from ETH Zurich in Switzerland, who is an Italian; Caucher Birkar from Cambridge, a Kurdish man who came to Britain as a refugee; and Peter Scholze from Bonn University, who is German.
- Here’s a glimpse of Akshay Venkatesh’s life in his own words:
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