King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) recognizes excellence in 5 categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science, since 1979

Professor Gerd Faltings

Winner of the  
2014
KFIP Prize for  
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Topic: Mathematics

Biography

Nationality: Germany

Prof Gerd Faltings (website2)Professor Gerd Faltings was born on 28 July, 1954 in Gelsenkirchen‐Buer, Germany. He studied mathematics and physics from 1972 to 1978 at the Westphalian Wilhelm University of Muenster. He received his diploma and PhD in 1978. Following his Ph.D. award, he went as a visiting scientist to Harvard University in the USA, from 1978 – 1979. Between 1979 and 1982 he worked as a Scientific Assistant at the University of Muenster where he received his venia legendi (habilitation) in 1981. Between 1982 and 1984, he held a professorship
for Pure Mathematics at the University of Wuppertal and was the youngest professor of mathematics in Germany. Between 1985 and 1994 he was appointed professor of Mathematics at Princeton University in the USA. He came back to Germany in 1994 as a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn and became its Director since 1995.

Professor Faltings has made seminal contributions to mathematics, particularly to algebraic
geometry, number theory and arithmetic. At the age of 27, he made a breakthrough which revolutionized Arakelov theory by proving his index theorem and the Faltings-Riemann-Roch theorem. During the following two years, he proved three major arithmetic finiteness theorems: the Mordell Conjecture, the Tate Conjecture and the Shafarevich Conjecture, all of which have become attached to his name. He gained world fame by his proof of the Mordell conjecture, a problem about Diophantine equations that date back to the Greek. He introduced new geometric ideas and techniques in the theory of Diophantine approximation which have led to his proof of Lang’s conjecture on rational points of abelian varieties and to a far-reaching generalization of the subspace theorem.

He has also made important contributions to the theory of vector bundles on algebraic curves with his proof of the Verlinde formulaProfessor Faltings has authored numerous publications in leading mathematical journals and is Associate Editor of Compositio Mathematica and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Algebraic Geometry. His accomplishments in mathematics have been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including:

  • Dannie Heinemann Prize of the Goettingen Academy of Sciences (1983)
  • Fields Medal of the International Mathematical Union, International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics. He received the medal for proving the Mordell conjecture (1986), a proof which has finally led him to interesting research on the toroidal compactification of the moduli space of Abelian varieties and on the relationship between p-adic etate and crystalline cohomology.
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (1988).
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz‐Prize of the German Research Foundation (1996). This is the highest award for research in Germany.
  • Karl‐Georg‐Christian‐von‐Staudt‐Prize (2008)
  • Federal Order of Merit First Class, Germany (2009)
  • Heinz Gumin Prize for Mathematics of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation (2010).
  • Honorary Doctorate degree of the Westphalian Wilhelms‐University University of Muenster (2012).Professor Faltings is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the North Rhine Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the science academes in Goettingen and Berlin.

Professor Faltings has made groundbreaking contributions to algebraic geometry and number theory. His work combines ingenuity, vision and technical power. He has introduced stunning new tools and techniques which are now constantly used in modern mathematics.

His deep insights into the p-adic cohomology of algebraic varieties have been crucial to modern developments in number theory. His work on moduli spaces of abelian varieties has had great influence on arithmetic algebraic geometry. He has introduced new geometric ideas and techniques in the theory of Diophantine approximation, leading to his proof of Lang’s conjecture on rational points of abelian varieties and to a far-reaching generalization of the subspace theorem. Professor Faltings has also made important contributions to the theory of vector bundles on algebraic curves with his proof of the Verlinde formula.

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