JERUSALEM, Israel - Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss became the first Israeli to receive the coveted Fields Medal.
The 40-year-old mathematics professor, on staff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Einstein Institute of Mathematics, received the prestigious award on Thursday at the opening session of the International Congress of Mathematics, which convenes every four years.
The Fields Medal is awarded to scholars up to age 40 for outstanding achievements in mathematicians with future potential.
The 2010 international congress, organized by the International Mathematical Union, is taking place this year in Hyderabad, India.
Click here to view Fields Medal 2010 - Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss.
Indian President Shrimati Pratibha Patil presented the medal to Lindenstrauss and three other outstanding mathematicians: Ngo Bao Chau, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, France; Cedric Vallani, Henri Poincare Institute in Paris; and Stanislav Smirnov, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson said Israelis are at a slight disadvantage because compulsory military service means a later start for their academic careers.
"Israel is a mathematical power, but till now no Israeli researcher had won this prize," Prof. Ben-Sasson said.
"The 40-year age limitation is certainly an obstacle for young researchers who are compelled to start their academic lives relatively late because of army service," he said.
Lindenstrauss graduated from the Israel Air Force's elite Talpiot program before entering Hebrew University where he earned an undergraduate degree in math and physics and a master's and Ph.D. in mathematics.
After receiving his doctorate, Lindenstrauss worked at Princeton University's Institute of Advanced Studies and at Stanford University. He has been a professor at Hebrew University since 2008.
Lindenstrauss, who holds the rank of major in the IDF reserves, resides in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
His father, Joram Lindenstrauss, is a professor emeritus at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics and a recipient of the coveted Israel Prize.