1 | Name: | Dr. Peter Sarnak | |

Institution: | Princeton University; Institute for Advanced Study | ||

Year Elected: | 2008 | ||

Class: | 1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences | ||

Subdivision: | 104. Mathematics | ||

Residency: | Resident | ||

Living? : | Living | ||

Birth Date: | 1953 | ||

Peter Sarnak is Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University and a Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. He received his Ph.D from Stanford University in 1980 and worked at Stanford and at New York University's Courant Institute prior to his appointment at Princeton. He chaired Princeton's Department of Mathematics from 1996-99 and has received numerous honors for his work, including the Polya Prize (1998), the Ostrowski Prize (2001); the Cole Prize (2005); and the Wolf Prize (2014). Sarnak's work has had an impact on areas ranging from computer science (through his 1988 construction of expander graphs which continues to have an impact) to mathematical physics (where he showed that the chaotic properties of waves on a surface depend on the arithmetic properties of the surface). His use of techniques from one area to address problems in another area has led to the solution of problems that were previously viewed as out of reach. His areas of specialty are analysis and number theory. He is the main pioneer of the powerful idea that number theory (the study of whole numbers, which is apparently a deterministic subject) is governed by the ideas of randomness, such as random matrices and quantum chaos. A very social mathematician, he has served as an advisor for many mathematical departments and institutes, worked with many postdoctoral fellows, and supervised 36 Ph.D. theses. Peter Sarnak is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1991); the National Academy of Sciences (2002); and the Royal Society (2002). He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2008. |