BHARGAVA AND SOUNDARARAJAN TO RECEIVE
THE FIRST SASTRA RAMANUJAN PRIZE
The 2005 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize will be jointly awarded to
Professors MANJUL BHARGAVA (Princeton University) and
KANNAN SOUNDARARAJAN (University of Michigan). This
annual prize, being awarded for the first time, is for
outstanding contributions by individuals not exceeding
the age of 32 in areas of mathematics influenced by
Ramanujan in a broad sense. The age limit was set at 32
because Ramanujan achieved so much in his brief life of
32 years. The $10,000 prize will be awarded annually
in December at the Srinivasa Ramanujan Centre of
SASTRA University in Ramanujan's hometown, Kumbakonam,
South India.
MANJUL BHARGAVA has made phenomenal contributions to
number theory, most notably by his discovery of higher
order composition laws. This is his PhD thesis, written
under the direction of Professor Andrew Wiles of Princeton
University and published as a series of papers in the
Annals of Mathematics. Gauss, the Prince of Mathematicians,
constructed a law of composition for binary quadratic
forms. Bhargava introduced entirely new and unexpected
ideas that led to his discovery of such composition
laws for forms of higher degree. Bhargava then applied
these composition laws to solve a new case of one of
the fundamental questions of number theory, that of
the asymptotic enumeration of number fields of a given
degree d. The question is trivial for d=1, and Gauss himself
solved the case d=2 in 1801. Then in 1971 Davenport and
Heilbronn solved the d=3 case. Bhargava has now solved
the d=4 and d=5 cases, which previously had resisted all attempts.
Bhargava also applied his work to make significant
progress on the problem of finding the average size of
ideal class groups and on the related conjectures of
Cohen and Lenstra. Bhargava's research has created a
whole new area of research in a classical topic that
has seen very little activity since the time of Gauss.
Bhargava is currently a Full Professor at Princeton
University, the youngest at that rank in that prestigious
academic institution.
KANNAN SOUNDARARAJAN has made brilliant contributions
to several areas in analytic number theory that include
multiplicative number theory, the Riemann zeta function
and Dirichlet Lfunctions, and more recently with the
analytic theory of automorphic forms and the KatzSarnak
theory of symmetric groups associated with families of
Lfunctions. As an undergraduate at the University
of Michigan, Soundararajan made two outstanding
contributions. First, in joint work with R. Balasubramaniam,
he proved a famous conjecture of Ron Graham in
combinatorial number theory. Next he obtained some
fundamental results on the distribution of zeros of
the Riemann zeta function. Subsequently, in his PhD thesis,
written under the direction of Professor Peter Sarnak
of Princeton University, Soundararajan proved the
spectacular result that more than 7/8ths of quadratic
Dirichlet Lfunctions have no zeros at the critical
point s=1/2, thereby providing strong evidence for a
conjecture of Chowla. A part of his PhD thesis is
published in the Annals of Mathematics. More recently,
in a paper with Brian Conrey in Inventiones
Mathematicae, Soundararajan proved that a positive
proportion of Dirichlet Lfunctions have no zeros
on the real axis within the critical strip. In another
paper in Inventiones Mathematicae, he and Ken Ono,
assuming the generalized Riemann hypothesis, confirmed a
certain conjecture of Ramanujan regarding a ternary quadratic
form. Soundararajan is also a leading expert on random matrix
theory and its implications in analytic number theory.
Here his recent work with Hugh Montgomery shows that prime
numbers in short intervals are distributed normally, but
with a variance that is surprisingly different from classical
heuristics. Soundararajan, considered to be one of the
most creative young minds to emerge in the last decade,
is currently Full Professor at the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Bhargava and Soundararajan were selected as the top
candidates from a pool of brilliant young mathematicians
from around the world. The international panel of
experts who formed the 2005 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize Committee
are: (Chair) Krishnaswami Alladi  University of Florida,
Manindra Agarwal  Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur,
George Andrews  The Pennsylvania State University,
JeanMarc Deshouillers  University of Bordeaux,
Tom Koornwinder  University of Amsterdam, James
Lepowsky  Rutgers University, and Don Zagier 
Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, Bonn, and the
College de France.
This being the first year
the award is given, the competition was especially
strong and the decision was to give the prize to two
equally deserving outstanding candidates.
Bhargava and Soundararajan will be awarded the prize
during the International Conference on Number Theory
and Mathematical Physics, December 1922, 2005, at
SASTRA University, where both will be invited to
give talks on their work.
Krishnaswami Alladi
Chair, 2005 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize Committee
For an article describing the events leading to the launching
of the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, the prize ceremony, and the
accomplishments of the winners, see Krishna Alladi's article
The First
SASTRA Ramanujan Prizes.
University of Florida *
Mathematics
