Michel Telagrande wins the Abel Prize for his work in probability theory and stochastic processes

Michel Telagrande wins the Abel Prize for his work in probability theory and stochastic processes

Presenting prizes

The 2024 Abel Prize was awarded to Frenchman Michel Telagrand. He receives NOK 7.5 million from the Norwegian state.

Michel Telagrande wins Abel 2024.


Abel Prize

  • The Abel Prize is funded by the Norwegian state, and its value is 7.5 million Norwegian kroner.
  • The award is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and presented by His Majesty the King.
  • The Council of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences decides who will award the prize based on a proposal from the Abel Committee, which consists of five internationally recognized mathematicians.
  • The Abel Prize is named after Niels Henrik Abel, the greatest Norwegian mathematician of all time.

Michel Telagrande received the award for his work in probability theory and stochastic processes.

—Talagrande is a distinguished and highly productive mathematician who transformed probability theory, functional analysis, and statistics. He had an enormous impact on mathematics and its applications, says Lise Ovreas, president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, in a press release.

The Abel Prize is an award for outstanding sporting action, and the winner receives seven and a half million kroner. It is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences. Last year, the award went to Argentine-American mathematician Luis A. Caffarelli. The awards ceremony will be held in Oslo on May 21.

Professor Helge Holden, chair of the Abell Commission, says Talagrande is an exceptional mathematician and an impressive problem solver.

He made major contributions to our understanding of stochastic processes, especially Gaussian processes. His work changed several areas within probability theory. Moreover, his proof of the famous Parisian formula for free energy in round glass is a remarkable achievement, says Holden.

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Abel Prize

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Gaussian curve and probability theory


About the winner

Michel Telagrand was born in 1952 in France. He earned his doctorate in mathematics in 1977 at the University of Paris VI, and spent a few years at Ohio State University in the United States. He is married and has two children. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences. Talagrande has won numerous awards, and on his website he invites mathematicians to solve problems under the slogan “Be Rich in My Prizes.”

Source: Norwegian Academy of Sciences

The press release from the Norwegian Academy of Sciences notes that Talagrande's work involves understanding and using the “Gaussian curve,” also known as the normal distribution. The Gaussian curve describes a number of phenomena in our daily lives where seemingly random events precisely follow this curve. Examples include the weight of newborns, grades of school students, and the age of athletes who begin training.

Prospect theory is a key component of much of Talagrande's research. It has its origins in issues related to gambling and risk assessment. Understanding randomness has a huge impact on society, on everything from logistics to condensed phase physics.

In addition, understanding mathematical theories related to random phenomena is important in today's society. Stochastic algorithms, which Tallagrande works with, are the building blocks of language models and weather forecasts, among other things.


See photos from the Abel Prize

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