At 6:00 am on Thursday, March 27, Graduate Research Professor John Thompson received a call from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, that he will be awarded the 2008 Abel Prize along with the eminent mathematician Jacques Tits of the College de France. The prize worth $1.2 million is to be presented in Oslo by King Harald V of Norway on May 20. The Abel Prize in Mathematics is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. This was the highest ever academic recognition in the history of the University of Florida. To celebrate this announcement of unparalleled importance, a reception was arranged on the campus of the University of Florida at 4:30 pm on Mar 27, the same day the announcement was made. In spite of the short notice, there was a good turnout at the reception. University of Florida President Bernard Machen who was in the midst of budget discussions with the Florida Legislature, flew directly from Tallahassee to be present at the reception to congratulate Professor Thompson and express his appreciation. He stressed that the award was of paramount importance to the University of Florida. The President also noted that the Mathematics Department has to be credited for providing a conducive environment for Professor Thompson. The Norwegian Embassy in Washington DC sent its Couselor for Science, Dr. Berit Johne, to congratulate Professor Thompson on behalf of the Norwegian Ambassador to USA and to present a momento. Provost Janie Fouke and CLAS Interim Dean Joseph Glover also spoke at the reception. Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Steve Saxon (Bass Baritone) sang magnificently and was ably accompanied by Kim Tuttle on the piano. Three eminent mathematicians, all members of the National Academy of Sciences - Professors George Andrews (Penn State University, President Elect of the American Math Society), Bert Kostant (MIT), and Peter Sarnak (Princeton) - conveyed their congratulations to Thompson in taped messages that were played at the reception. Finally, Professors Alex Turull and Peter Sin who were attending a conference in Chicago on that day, conveyed congratulations on behalf of the algebra group, also through a taped message that was played at the reception.

The program during the reception is provided below. Pictures of the event (courtesy: Professor Beverly Brechner) can also be viewed.

Krishnaswami Alladi
Department of Mathematics
University of Florida


LOCATION: Keene Faculty Center, Dauer Hall

DATE/TIME: Thur, Mar 27, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Welcome, and tribute to Prof. Thompson by Krishnaswami Alladi, Chair, Mathematics Department
  • Song "Quia fecit mihi magna" from the 'Magnificat' in D Major, BMV 243 (Bach) rendered by Mathematics Emeritus Professor Steve Saxon (Bass-Baritone) and accompanied by Kim Tuttle (Piano)
  • Congratulations from Dr. Berit Johne, Counselor for Science, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Washington DC on behalf of the Norwegian Ambassador.
  • Congratulations from UF President Bernard Machen
  • Congratulations from UF Provost Janie Fouke
  • Congratulations from Interim Dean Joseph Glover, CLAS
  • Congratulations from three Members of the National Academy of Sciences:
    • Professor George Andrews, Penn State University (President Elect of the American Mathematical Society)
    • Professor Bert Kostant (MIT)
    • Professor Peter Sarnak (Princeton University)
  • Congratulations from Professors Peter Sin and Alexandre Turull on behalf of the algebra group
  • Response from Professor John Thompson, 2008 Abel Laureate
  • Refreshments at 5:15 pm

See also
* UF News Announcement on the Abel Prize

University of Florida * Mathematics * Contact Info

Created Tuesday, June 3, 2008.
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Last update made Mon Apr 13 11:40:50 PDT 2015.