Dennis Parnell Sullivan – 2022 Abel Prize laureate. Copyright holder: John Griffin/Stony Brook University/ Abel Prize

Dennis Parnell Sullivan is an American mathematician most famous for his ground-breaking work on topology and dynamical systems, two fields in which ideas about geometric structure play a central role. A charismatic and lively member of the mathematics community, he has found deep connections between a dazzling variety of areas of mathematics.

In its citation, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the organization that administers the Abel, said Prof. Sullivan was honoured “for his groundbreaking contributions to topology in its broadest sense, and in particular its algebraic, geometric and dynamical aspects.”

Among his significant results in topology is his proof of the Adams conjecture, and in dynamical systems he proved that rational maps have no wandering domains, solving a 60-year-old conjecture. His insistent probing for fundamental understanding, and his capacity to see analogues between diverse areas of mathematics and build bridges between them, has forever changed the field. Dennis P. Sullivan has won numerous awards, among them the Steele Prize, the 2010 Wolf Prize in Mathematics and the 2014 Balzan Prize for Mathematics. He is also a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Ulrike Tillmann, a mathematician at the University of Oxford who served on the Abel committee, said that given Dr Sullivan’s “absolutely fantastic work” in both algebraic topology and dynamical systems, “it was a very easy decision to make.”

The prize is accompanied by 7.5 million Norwegian kroner, or about $850,000.

“Mathematics is truly a passion that provides a never-ending stream of curiosities and puzzles, and I’ve been privileged to spend each day of my professional life in the company of the many talented colleagues and students who have conspired with me to tackle these challenges so that we might better understand the rules of the universe. This award is as much a testament to their hard work and insights as it is a gift to me.” Prof. Sullivan says to the CUNY Graduate Center’s website.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, awards the Abel Prize, and it will be officially presented by His Majesty King Harald at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway on May 24.

The event will be streamed live on The Abel Prize YouTube Channel.