Not long ago we posted about the curious amount of Norwegians who come to Budapest to get their education in medicine at Semmelweis University. Lately in the news, though, we found one of Hungary’s most beautiful minds – and one-time medical student himself – travelling to Norway to be honored with the Abel Prize, known in certain brainy circles as the ‘Nobel of Math’.
This year’s Abel Prize recipient, Endre Szemerédi – a young-looking 71 – is the first Hungarian to receive the honor. According to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters the prize was bequeathed for Szemerédi’s advances in discreet mathematics, which informs theoretical computer science and information theory.
Like most Hungarians who achieve worldwide fame, Szemerédi’s path to success was fraught with obstacles. At one point, this great mind was even making his living working in a factory. Ever modest, and despite his long time abroad (he has lived and taught in the United States for many decades), Szemerédi credits his Hungarian upbringing and the long tradition of innovation in mathematics in Hungary for his achievement: “It is not my own personal achievement, but recognition for this field of mathematics and Hungarian mathematicians,” he told NJ.com
In the book, An Irregular Mind, published prior to the award ceremony, it was written that “Szemerédi has an ‘irregular mind’; his brain is wired differently than for most mathematicians. Many of us admire his unique way of thinking, his extraordinary vision.”
At almost 900,000 dollars the Abel Prize should make for a very happy Hungarian indeed. Endre Szemerédi currently teaches at Rutgers in the US state of New Jersey.
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