Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 1984
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
“for his numerous contributions to number theory, combinatorics, probability, set theory, and mathematical analysis, and for personally stimulating mathematicians the world over”.
Professor Paul Erdos is one of the most prolific mathematicians of all times. His elementary proof of the prime number theorem (jointly with A. Selbey) came after many a famous mathematician had pronounced such a proof impossible. The field of combinatorics owes its very existence to his work. His ingenious applications of probabilistic methods to existence questions, has enabled him and those who followed him obtain results well beyond explicit computation. His partition calculus in set theory (partly in collaboration with R. Rado) has created a new branch of mathematics, at the intersection between mathematical logic and set theory. Two generations of mathematicians world-wide have benefited from his example and stimulation.