Monday, July 07, 2008
Rutgers University professor Vu Ha Van is to be awarded the George Polya prize by the US Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in San Diego, California, for his work in combinatorial theory.Van will receive an engraved medal and a 20,000 USD cash award on July 8.Van received his undergraduate degree in Hungary and his PhD in mathematics from Yale University in the US under the direction of Laszlo Lovasz, president of the International Mathematical Union and 1979 George Pólya Prize winner.Van worked for the Institute for Advanced Study, Microsoft and the University of California, before becoming a mathematics professor at Rutgers University in 2005.The prize committee said Van had made one of the most important contributions to his specialised field in the last ten years.. He is being honored for developing fundamental concentration inequalities for random polynomials that are applicable to broader contexts than earlier inequalities. These inequalities have enabled the solution of long-standing problems in projective geometry, convex geometry, extremal graph theory, number theory, and theoretical computer science. His research interests include combinatorics, probability, and additive number theory. He has received a Sloan Dissertation Fellowship (1997), a Sloan Research Fellowship (2002), and an NSF Career Award (2003). He has been a member of the IAS in 1998, 2005, and 2007, the last time as leader of a focus program, "Arithmetic Combinatorics.The George Pólya Prize was established in 1969 and is given every two years, alternately in two categories: (1) for a notable application of combinatorial theory; (2) for a notable contribution in another area of interest to George Pólya such as approximation theory, complex analysis, number theory, orthogonal polynomials, probability theory, or mathematical discovery and learning. The Prize is broadly intended to recognize specific recent work.