The Abel Prize for 2014
has been awarded to Russian mathematician Yakov Grigorevich Sinai on 26 March
by Nils Chr. Stenseth, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and
Letters at Oslo. He is the
thirteenth recipient of this
highly coveted prize which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for
Mathematics. The Abel Prize
was presented to the laureate by H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon at the award
ceremony in the University Aula, Oslo, Norway on May 20, 2014.

Yakov Sinai is a
stalwart in the theory of dynamical systems, mathematical physics and
probability theory. He is an alumnus of Moscow State University. After leaving
Moscow State University in 1993, he became a professor of Mathematics, at the
Princeton University.

In addition, Sinai is also associated with
the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics and Russian Academy of Sciences. He
has written more than 250 research articles and has supervised more than 50 PhD
students.

Ragni Piene, chair of
the Abel committee, lauded Sinai’s seminal contributions in shaping the modern
metric theory of dynamical systems. World renowned mathematician Jordan
Ellenberg gave a popular science presentation of Sinai's work. Besides Piene of
University of Oslo, the Committee comprises renowned mathematicians namely
Cédric Villani, Institut Henri Poincaré and Université de Lyon, France, Maria
J. Esteban, Ceremade, Paris, France, Stanislav Smirnov, Section of Mathematics,
University of Geneva, Switzerland and Gang Tian Mathematics Department
Princeton University, US, and School of Mathematical Sciences, Beijing
University, China.

The
Abel Prize was instituted in memory of Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829) who is acknowledged as the
greatest son of Norway and considered among the pioneers of modern Algebra.
While the Indian mathematical prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan, died young of
pneumonia, similarly Abel also
passed away at an equally young age of tuberculosis.
Coincidentally both these geniuses suffered a life of poverty.

The
Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund was established in 2002, in the bicentenary
year of Abel’s birth to award the Abel Prize for outstanding scientific work in
the field of mathematics. The six million Norwegian Kroner prize amount (INR
six crore) was intended to strengthen
and inspire teaching as well as scientific efforts. It re-established the
uniqueness and centrality of Mathematics among all forms of knowledge -- but
was excluded from the elite list of Nobel Prize subjects.

###
The Abel Prize was awarded for the first
time in June 2003 to the French mathematician Jean-Pierre Serre. In 2004 and
2008 the honour was shared by two people each. Interestingly reputed Indian mathematician
Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan of Courant Institute of Mathematical
Sciences, New York won the Prize in 2007 **for his fundamental contributions to
probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large
deviations.**

The
award committee was highly appreciative of Sinai’s identification of umbilical
relation between order and chaos. The committee noted Sinai’s contributions in
the areas of Ergodic theory and Statistical Mechanics. The Ergodic theory studies the tendency
of a system to explore all of its available states according to certain time
statistics whereas statistical mechanics explores the behavior of systems
composed of a very large number of particles, such as molecules in a gas.

Sinai
along with his PhD advisor Andrey Kolmogorov, framed the Kolmogorov–Sinai
entropy, a mathematical foundation for determining the
number that defines the complexity of a given dynamical system such as weather,
the motion of planets, economic systems etc.

As a
forerunner in Ergodic theory, Sinai proved
the first ergodicity theorems for scattering billiards in the style of
Boltzmann. He constructed Markov partitions for systems defined by iterations
of Anosov diffeomorphisms which led to a series of outstanding works showing
the power of symbolic dynamics to describe various classes of mixing systems.
He is well known for Sinai-Ruelle-Browen measures, Sinai’s walks, Pirogov–Sinai
theory, the stochastic Burgers equation of E–Khanin–Mazel–Sinai, the
Bleher–Sinai renormalization group theory.

Professor Sinai has trained and influenced a generation of leading
specialists in his research fields. Much of his research has become a standard
toolbox for mathematical physicists. His works had and continue to have a broad
and profound impact on Mathematics and Physics, as well as on the ever-fruitful
interaction of these two fields. He says to Ellenberg: “Mathematics and physics must go
together as horse and carriage.” In his
popular article, “Mathematicians
and Physicists = Cats and Dogs?,” Prof. Sinai had written that for him theoretical physics played the same role as
experimental physics played for a physicist.The journal

*Nature*calls him a chaos-theory pioneer who developed fundamental tools for the study of unpredictable phenomena.
Professor
Sinai has won almost all great awards in Mathematics which includes Boltzmann
Medal (1986), Dannie Heineman Prize (1990), Dirac Prize (1992), Wolf Prize
(1997), Nemmers Prize (2002) and Henri Poincaré Prize (2009). On his 75

^{th}birthday, the*Moscow Mathematical Journal*named him one of the greatest mathematicians of our time. It adds, ”Professor Sinai’s mere presence at a seminar or at a conference makes scientific life brighter and more exciting.”