Alessio Figalli of the ETH Zurich institute has been awarded the top award in mathematics, the Fields Medal, for his outstanding achievement in research.
The prize was handed over at an international congress of mathematicians in Brazil on Wednesday, according to a press release by the Federal Institute of Technologyexternal link.
The International Mathematical Union (IMUexternal link) said the award was in recognition for Figalli’s contributions to the theory of optimal transport and its applications in partial differential equations, metric geometry and probability.
The 34-year old professor helped solve a problem dating back over 20 years.
Expressing his delight with the award, he said: “It's great to be the first to prove something that has occupied many mathematicians for years. I'd like to show young talented people how creative and exciting mathematics really is.”
Italian-born Figalli shares the recognition with three fellow mathematicians from the United States, Britain and Germany.
He graduated in 2007 and was professor in the US before he took up his post at the ETH in 2016.
The Fields Medal, often compared with a Nobel Prize, is only awarded every four years. Previous winners from Switzerland include Wendelin Werner of the ETH and Stanislas Smirnov of Geneva University in 2006 and 2010 respectively.