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Professor Dennis P. Sullivan.Special ArrangementSpecial Arrangement

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel prize for the year 2022 to American Mathematician Dennis Parnell Sullivan, who is with the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The citation mentions that the award has been given, “For his groundbreaking contributions to topology in its broadest sense, and in particular its algebraic, geometric and dynamical aspects”.

Topology is a field of mathematics which was born in the 19th century and has to do with properties of surfaces that do not change when they are deformed. Topologically, a circle and a square are the same; similarly, surfaces of a doughnut and a coffee mug with one handle are topologically equivalent, however, the surface of a sphere and a coffee mug are not equivalent.

“Dennis P. Sullivan has repeatedly changed the landscape of topology by introducing new concepts, proving landmark theorems, answering old conjectures and formulating new problems that have driven the field forwards,” says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee, in a press release given by the Academy.

The release further says that Prof. Sullivan has found deep connections between a variety of areas of mathematics. One of his key breakthroughs is in developing a new way of understanding rational homotopy theory.

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