Tuesday, May 27, 2008
David Mumford, a professor at Brown University's Applied Mathematics Division, was a co-winner Sunday of the Wolf Prize for his groundbreaking theoretical work in algebraic geometry. It is considered one of the most prestigious international honors in mathematics.Mumford, professor emeritus at Brown University and Harvard University, shared this year's prize with Pierre Deligne and Phillip Griffiths of Princeton University.According to the Wolf Foundation, he was recognized for his "work on algebraic surfaces; on geometric invariant theory; and for laying the foundations of the modern algebraic theory of the moduli space of curves and theta functions." Mumford announced he would donate his $50,000 prize money to Bir-Zeit University in the West Bank and to Gisha, an Israeli lobby that works to help Palestinian students reach their places of study.Mr. Mumford said that mathematics had been able to flourish around the world because of the frequent interchange between scholars in different countries, and that international exchanges with other scholars had been important in his own career.The Israel-based foundation was established by Ricardo Wolf, a German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist who spent the last years of his life as Cuba's representative in Israel, where he died in 1981.The foundation presents five or six annual prizes, often shared. Its motto is "to promote science and art for the benefit of mankind." Mumford shared his prize with two other mathematicians.