Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 1979
The Prize Committee for Mathematics has decided that the prize for this year should be divided between Andre Well and Jean Leray.
College de France
“for pioneering work on the development and application of topological methods to the study of differential equations”.
Both these mathematicians have made outstanding contributions in many different areas of mathematics and their work has had very great impact on the development of mathematics over the past decades.
Professor (Emeritus) Jean Leray’s major contributions include his work on the equations of fluid mechanics, his use of topological methods in analytical problems, his development of entirely new techniques, which have altered the whole direction of algebraic topology, and very significant work on the theory of hyperbolic differential equations. He is a member of the Academies of Science of Paris, Belgium, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Italy, Poland and others, and Doctor Honoris Causa of many Universities. His work is of very unusual broadness, spanning from the most abstract part of Mathematics – where Leray himself invented extremely general abstract tools – to very concrete applications and at the same time of a remarkable unity; all the new concepts and methods are applied to very specific problems taken amongst the most challenging of the science of our time.