Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 2010
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Harvard University, USA
“for his work in geometric analysis that has had a profound and dramatic impact on many areas of geometry and physics”.
Shing-Tung Yau (born in 1949, China) has linked partial differential equations, geometry, and mathematical physics in a fundamentally new way, decisively shaping the field of geometric analysis. He has developed new analytical tools to solve several difficult nonlinear partial differential equations, particularly those of the Monge-Ampere type, critical to progress in Riemannian, Kahler and algebraic geometry and in algebraic topology, that radically transformed these fields. The Calabi-Yau manifolds, as these are known, a particular class of Kahler manifolds, have become a cornerstone of string theory aimed at understanding how the action of physical forces in a high-dimensional space might ultimately lead to our four-dimensional world of space and time. Prof. Yau’s work on T-duality is an important ingredient for mirror symmetry, a fundamental problem at the interface of string theory and algebraic and symplectic geometry. While settling the positive mass and energy conjectures in general relativity, he also created powerful analytical tools, which have broad applications in the investigation of the global geometry of space-time.
Prof. Yau’s eigenvalue and heat kernel estimates on Riemannian manifolds, count among the most profound achievements of analysis on manifolds . He studied minimal surfaces,solving several classical problems, and then used his results, to create a novel approach to geometric topology. Prof. Yau has been exceptionally productive over several decades, with results radiating onto many areas of pure and applied mathematics and theoretical physics. In addition to his diverse and fundamental mathematical achievements, which have inspired generations of mathematicians, Prof. Yau has also had an enormous impact, worldwide, on mathematical research, through training an extraordinary number of graduate students and establishing several active mathematical research centers.