Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 1986
The Mathematics Prize Committee for 1986 unanimously recommends that the Wolf Prize in Mathematics be shared jointly by Samuel Eilenberg and Atle Selberg.
Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
“for his profound and original work on number theory and on discrete groups and automorphic forms.”
In early work, Professor Atle Selberg proved that the zeros of the Riemann zeta function on the critical line have positive density. He conceived and developed the general sieve method, which has become a fundamental tool in analytic number theory. His ideas on sieves led him to his celebrated ‘Selberg formula’ which is the basis of his elementary proof of the prime number theorem. He discovered the trace formula, which bears his name. Out of it grew a new interaction of group representations and number theory. He initiated the study of the arithmeticity of lattices. His contributions are so deep and so many that his name is already part of the history of mathematic