NPR

U.S. Mathematician Becomes First Woman To Win Abel Prize, 'Math's Nobel'

"I find that I am bored with anything I understand," Karen Uhlenbeck once said. That sentiment is part of why she won what many call the Nobel of mathematics Tuesday.

"I find that I am bored with anything I understand," Karen Uhlenbeck once said - and that sense of curiosity is part of why she won the prestigious Abel Prize, from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Uhlenbeck, an influential mathematician who was for decades a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and who has sought to encourage women to study mathematics, has become the first woman to win the Abel Prize — often called the Nobel Prize of math.

Uhlenbeck's complex and wide-ranging work includes analyzing

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR5 min read
When Snakes Slither Into Bangkok Homes, This Is The Wrangler Who Gets Rid Of Them
When pythons, cobras and pit vipers show up, Pinyo Pukpinyo, a sergeant in Bangkok's fire department, is the expert who catches them. He's been bitten 20 times but says his work "makes me happy."
NPR4 min read
Justin Trudeau Battles For His Political Survival As Canada Gets Ready To Vote
Stung by a series of recent scandals, the prime minister is locked in a virtual tie with Andrew Scheer of the opposition Conservative Party ahead of Monday's election.
NPR2 min read
Jovino Santos Neto Trio: Tiny Desk Concert
Along with his trio, the pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer cast a spell over the NPR Music offices in this joyful turn behind the Tiny Desk.