U.S. mathematician John F. Nash Jr. and Canadian-born American national Louis Nirenberg have been named as the joint winners of the Abel Prize for 2015 for their contributions to mathematical sciences, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters said Wednesday.
The two mathematicians won the prize "for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis," according to a press release issued by the academy.
Nash, 86, and Nirenberg, 90, will receive the financial award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (about 765,000 U.S. dollars) from Norway's King Harald during a formal ceremony in Oslo on May 19.
Nash spent his career at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology while Nirenberg worked at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the press release said, adding that even though they did not formally collaborate on any papers, they influenced each other greatly during the 1950s and the results of their work are felt more strongly today than ever before.
"Their breakthroughs have developed into versatile and robust techniques that have become essential tools for the study of nonlinear partial differential equations. Their impact can be felt in all branches of the theory," the Abel committee said in citation.
"Far from being confined to the solutions of the problems for which they were devised, the results proven by Nash and Nirenberg have become very useful tools and have found tremendous applications in further contexts," it said.
Outside mathematics, Nash is best known for a paper he wrote about game theory, the mathematics of decision-making, which ultimately won him the 1994 Nobel Prize for economics and features strongly in the 2001 film about him, A Beautiful Mind.
Nirenberg, who was born, raised, and schooled in Canada, has had one of the longest and most feted careers in mathematics, having produced important results right up until his 70s.
The Abel prize has been awarded annually since 2003 in memory of the Norwegian mathematics genius Niels Henrik Abel.