Indian-origin Stanford professor wins prestigious Infosys Prize in Mathematical Sciences


An Indian-origin professor from Stanford University has been awarded a prestigious mathematics prize – Infosys Prize in Mathematical Sciences.

Sourav Chatterjee, a world-renowned mathematician, and a professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University’s School of Humanities and Sciences.

Now for his contribution to mathematics, the Infosys Science Foundation, awarded Chatterjee the prestigious Infosys Prize in Mathematical Sciences, which is a $100,000 reward.

The award aims to recognize outstanding researchers and scientists around the world. Through the award, the Foundation aims to encourage the spread of science in India, particularly among young people.

“I’m very honored and humbled to receive this prize,” said Chatterjee, who first came to Stanford as a doctoral student in 2002 after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata. “It means a lot to be recognized by the group of esteemed mathematicians assembled by The Infosys Science Foundation, and I feel encouraged to continue pushing ahead with my research.”

Deeply embedded in probability and statistics, Chatterjee’s work has had significant impacts not only in mathematics but also broadly in physics, technology and other fields. Across his many papers, Chatterjee has devised novel mathematical approaches for scientists to apply in their own research.

“One of the big guiding practices in my work has been making mathematical tools other people can use,” Chatterjee said.

Topics that have benefitted from his mathematical insights include occurrences of rare events, the dynamics of social as well as technological networks, the behavior of magnets and efforts to further solidify a mathematical basis for quantum mechanics.

Chatterjee enjoys the challenge of breaking down a problem to its tiniest form and figuring out a fresh perspective. Reflecting both this range of applications and the helpfulness of Chatterjee’s work, the jury of the Infosys Science Foundation, composed of academics from around the world, described Chatterjee as “one of the most versatile probabilists of his generation” and praised his “formidable problem-solving powers.”

Chatterjee completed his Bachelor and Master of Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. Later he moved to Standford to complete his Ph.D in 2005, where he worked under the supervision of Persi Diaconis, another renowned mathematician.

Chatterjee later joined University of California, Berkeley, as a Visiting Assistant Professor, then received a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in 2006.