Talk:Abel Prize

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Former FLCAbel Prize is a former featured list candidate. Please view the link under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. Once the objections have been addressed you may resubmit the article for featured list status.
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November 17, 2012Featured list candidateNot promoted

All-world recipients[edit]

About the most recent change: Is it really necessary to specify that the mathematicians can be of any nationality? I would have thought the omission of any restrictions implied it? MasterDirk

I included that because I had put in the fact that the King of Norway awards the prize. I thought that might be misunderstood to imply that the recipient needs to be a Norwegian. Michael Hardy 16:36, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It's not wrong in any way, I'm just not sure that the original text implied the price was Norwegians-only. But, I guess, as long as the text only gets clearer by this change I'll agree with you. Now, there's no way it could be construed to mean .no only, and that's a good thing :)MasterDirk
No Norwegians-only implications in the original text, no. Personally, I must admit I would rather prefer to avoid such a statement. An ultraquick look at the list of recipients, no doubt a sure thing for all but the most extremely busy of readers, would easily dispel any Norwegians-only notions, whatever small chance of that existing in the first place. --Wernher 02:52, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Regarding the last edit (translating the initial funds into dollars)[edit]

Is it necessary? Is it a good thing? I know US$ is an important currency, certainly more important than NOK, but as WikiPedia isn't an American encyclopedia I feel it's somehow redundant and misguided. The money was set off in NOK, not in US$. I don't know whether non-Norwegians find NOK particularly difficult to handle, or whether it was added in an attempt to give casual readers a ballpark figure in their heads? Should we perhaps have the sum in € as well?

It would be a good idea to have the price in NOK with the Dollar (and perhaps Euro) equivalent in parenthesis. It is quite standard in world-class financial/commercial publications. Always use the original currency in the text. Hugo Dufort 06:57, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Yeah its a good idea, automatic converters are here:, For example: ($852,273, increased from $681,818). It looks a bit fussy when accurate to the nearest $ in numeric form, when the original is millions Billwoo2011 (talk) 19:56, 12 January 2021 (UTC)

Awarding vs. presenting[edit]

The King does not award the prize, he merely presents it (if he is able to attend the ceremony). The prize is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. --Niels Henrik Abel 19:22, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I changed the text accordingly. Hanche 17:17, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

In support of today's edit by User:Cronholm144[edit]

This page must be considered somewhat authoritative, and supports the reversal. (Hmm, how can I refer to a particular edit of a Wikipedia article?) Hanche 17:17, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Abel Prize versus Fields Medal[edit]

Its wrong to establish that the Abel Prize is widely recognized the most prestigious, ask most professional mathematicians and they`ll say its the Fields Medal. It has a most rich history and the actual manner in which is awarded make it most prestigious, since is the International Mathematical Union that gives the award, not a National Academy or Goverment.

What do you think about the new wording, which doesn't explicitly compare them? — Carl (CBM · talk) 02:14, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it is better not to call it the most prestigious: The current wording is a definite improvement. But I'd rather delete the sentence about the Fields medal; it doesn't quite belong, even though it is indeed perhaps the most prestigious award next to the Abel prize. (I don't agree with CBM's assessment of the the relative prestige of the two prizes: For one, because of the age limit on the Fields medal they do not quite compete in the same “market”, and secondly, the prestige will be slowly accumulated or eroded over time, depending on how well the committee handles their job. But this minor disagreement should not spill into the main page.) Hanche (talk) 18:44, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't really know which one is more "prestigious"; we can probably agree the Fields medal is better established. I don't mind if the sentence about the Fields medal is removed from the lede. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:29, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Done. And I agree. 8-) Hanche (talk) 06:44, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Seems like the Abel Prize is more prestigious since it's $992,000 USD vs $15,000 USD for the Fields Medal, and there is no age limit like Fields Medal has-- (talk) 03:29, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Prestigiousness is hard to quantify, and its source is harder to track down (I think), but surely, the amount of the award and the lack of an age limit is not sufficient. Indeed, it is possible to effectively destroy the prize by repeatedly awarding it to clearly undeserving candidates – which is one reason why the committee is recruited from among the world's top mathematicians. In any case, this is too subjective a topic to include in an encyclopedia article. Hanche (talk) 19:49, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
I added the following sentence on prestige (before reading this discussion, I'm afraid, and for which I apologise): "According to a reputation survey conducted in 2013 and 2014, it is the most prestigious international academic award in mathematics." This sentence is supported by these two references. I think this adds information that is interesting to readers, but the difference between the Abel Prize and the Fields Medal in terms of reputation is small. I'm happy to defer to others as to whether this sentence stays or goes. (talk) 23:29, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Thats a good addition and a good source. Well done. oknazevad (talk) 00:34, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Was there a 2002 Abel prize?[edit]

The article states:

"In August 2001, the Norwegian government announced that the prize would be awarded beginning in 2002, the two-hundredth anniversary of Abel's birth."

But the table of winners begins with 2003. Was there, or wasn't there, an Abel prize awarded in 2002?Daqu (talk) 18:19, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

There wasn't; see the official site of the Abel prize. It is true that the creation of the prize was announced in 2001, and I believe it was the intention to award the first prize in 2002, but that there wasn't enough time to pull it off. After all, one needed to invite nominations, create a committee, and give the committee time to do its work. Not to mention the minor detail that the parliament had to actually grant NOK 200,000,000 first. Hanche (talk) 02:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

The amount awarded[edit]

The latest edit concerning the size of the prize is surely inflated, though I am not sure I feel like correcting it. After all, exchange rates vary, and who wants to update the amount all the time? What is fixed is the amount of the prize in Norwegian kroner, namely six million. Based on today's exchange rate, as well as I can establish, that is about USD 877,000 or EUR 667,000, somewhat lower than what is stated. What's a good solution? Clearly, we cannot take the word of some random news agency here. Hanche (talk) 19:49, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I know that has a sort of script to automatically update prices and calculate profits and costs and such, see the table here:
It would be interesting to see if Wikipedia can make use of something like this.


This is wikipedia, not wikileaks. Let's keep this year's laureate off the page until the recipient has been officially declared, shall we? This is the second time in a row the news has leaked here. Sheesh. Hanche (talk) 11:06, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

And like last year, the leaker appears from the IP address to be at École normale supériure de Lyon. Hanche (talk) 12:11, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Like last year, the laureate's name could be found on Abel comitee's website before the official announcement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the information. I didn't even know the Abel committee had a website. Or are you talking about the official web site of the Abel prize? But that wasn't updated before the announcement either, as far as I could tell. Now I am really curious. Please enlighten me. Hanche (talk) 13:59, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
So I guess it's a bad time to inform wikipedia that Milnor will receive it tomorrow? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
You don't know to leave well enough alone, do you? Hanche (talk) 09:38, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, the official website is a lot better this year; I fear we'll have to wait for the official announcement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:35, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


There seems to be a minor edit war going on, with the US flag being alternately removed and added next to Endre Szemerédi's name. Could we please try to establish some principle for the use of these flags? If it's to be based on citizenship, I don't think the US flag belongs, as I haven't seen any evidence that Szemerédi has become a US citizen. But if it based on affiliation, it's okay, since he has been a professor at Rutgers University since 1986. Can anybody point to established wikipedia policy indicating what's right? Or should we just forget about those flags, and remove them all? Hanche (talk) 16:49, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't know if there's a policy, but actually every solution has pros and contras. Taking citizenship is clear and easy (one either has another or not), but may cause some problems if he gets another one, or is revoked later, whatever. Taking the affiliation is great as well, since one may have not been able to get those results if it would not be connected to the institute. However, what do we mean under affiliation? Does one need a specific rank or a period of time of collaborating to qualify for that? There might also be other uncommon but not impossible things like one may have more citizenships during his life without moving away from his hometown (because of wars, dissolutions of countries, etc); or having a key position in more than one university/country during the period one achieves the results for what it gets the award (international cooperation, or something). Putting these together makes me think that removing the flags would be the best solution, as these might be incorrect and misleading even if they are added with the best faith, and may be a ground of further conflicts. If one is deeply interested in the life of the awardees, the information – that cannot be covered by adding a flag – may well be found in the bio articles. — Thehoboclown (talk) 14:21, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
MOS:FLAG provide some basis. Since the meaning attached to the flags in this context is indeed not clear, I support the removal. -- SchreyP (messages) 20:12, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reference. I'll wait a few days, and if nobody comes up with a good reason to keep the flags, and can give a solid policy for their usage, I'll remove them. Hanche (talk) 15:39, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Going to remove the flags now. Hanche (talk) 18:11, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

I reverted two recent edits by User:, as these edits appear to have been done while disregarding the present section on the discussion page. I think this is bad form. Next time, please discuss the proposed change here first, giving your reasons. Hanche (talk) 15:58, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Reverted edits again, for the same reason. Anonymous user in the same IP range. Hanche (talk) 19:58, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
The Abel prize is awarded to individuals, not to countries or to national representatives. Following WP:MOSFLAG and the discussion above, there is clear consensus against flags, and adding them without discussion leading to a new consensus is disruptive. Deltahedron (talk) 08:49, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Two false references removed[edit]

Tomcat7 added two references which have no relation to the material they are supporting. I've previously encountered this same behavior over at Friedrich Eckenfelder and I am encountering it here again. According to the nomination review the references were not listing the material they supported. Tomcat7 added these personally. Edit in question. [1] Here is the other. [2] Edit: They have been fixed with the removal of one and the proper source on the other. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 14:41, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Indian American?[edit]

I am pretty sure it is not possible to have dual citizenship as per Indian law. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:388:201:3310:FC58:D512:3682:E751 (talk) 19:45, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

2002 (honorary) Abel Prize[edit]

There is no mention to Atle Selberg's honorary Abel Prize of 2002 in this article. Why is that? Just because no one bothered to add it, or is there some reason to omit it? If no one objects, I will add a mention to it (with source: ), Sincerely, Thetootpoem (talk) 08:29, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

It makes sense to add a mention of it, but a more authoritative source is – and also the book “The Abel Prize 2003–2007” (currently reference 12 in the main article), pp. 7–9. But please do not add him to the list of Abel laureates: The honorary prize to Selberg was (if I understand it correctly) awarded before the formal apparatus of the Abel Prize was established, so it is incorrect to call it by the name “Abel Prize”, at least without the “honorary” prefix. Note also that Selberg is not listed among the laurates on the Abel Prize web site. Hanche (talk) 16:09, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi, the problem is that Wikipedia seems not to like primary sources. I agree that the web-site of the Abel Prize is the best source, but Wikipedia asks me to avoid it on the article about the Abel Prize itself (but it can be used at the article about Atle Selberg). Thetootpoem (talk) 02:42, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
BTW, done. It now reads: "Atle Selberg received an honorary Abel Prize in 2002, but the first actual Abel Prize was only awarded in 2003." Thetootpoem (talk) 02:54, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

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Never say the F-word! (as in 'Fields medal')[edit]

Is there a good reason why this article should not mention the Fields medal? If you google "nobel prize mathematics", you get plenty of references to either the Fields medal or the Abel prize (arguably more of the former - and none to other Mathematics awards). You can't say that one award is called "the Nobel prize of mathematics" without mentioning the other, otherwise the reader will get only half of the picture. The Fields medal article already mentions the Abel prize, and appropriately so; any compelling reason why this article shouldn't do the vice versa? --Deeday-UK (talk) 12:43, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

There is another one that was compared to the Nobel before the creation of the Abel. Reference: Piergiorgio Odifreddi; Arturo Sangalli (2006). The Mathematical Century: The 30 Greatest Problems of the Last 100 Years. Princeton University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-691-12805-7. (talk) 12:53, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Well, many Fields medalists also received the Wolf, the same goes for many Abel prize winners, but the Wolf Prize contemplated giants such as Israel Gelfand, Henri Cartan, Andrey Kolmogorov, Shiing-Shen Chern, Vladimir Arnold. They did not receive Fields nor Abel, but their stature is same level as the Abel Prize winners, and since they can't receive the Abel anymore, because they are dead, the Wolf Prize deserves a mention too (notice that except for Kolmogorov, they all died after the creation of the Abel, and so could have received it -- this is not the case for Newton, Riemann, Gauss, etc...). Raulsko (talk) 13:10, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

As seen above, it was previously decided not to mention the Fields medal in this article. This article is about the Abel Prize, not about the unrelated Fields medal. The Abel Prize shares its origins to some extent with the Nobel Prizes, having been originally proposed at the same time in response to the lack of a Nobel Prize in mathematics and directly modelled after the Nobel Prizes, being awarded in Norway (one of the two Nobel countries) and even in the very room where one of the Nobel Prizes was awarded previously. The Fields medal on the other hand has no relation to the Nobel Prize or to the Abel Prize, and is specifically a prize for early-career junior scientists, and thus absolutely not comparable with the Nobel Prizes or the Abel Prize which are not early-career prizes and which are almost never awarded to people in the age group who receive Fields medals. Also, the last paragraph of the introduction is really about the Abel Prize being modelled after the Nobel Prizes and the history of how it was conceived (in response to the Nobel Prizes in 1899), and mentioning other completely unrelated and different prizes in the middle of the paragraph just derails it. --Bjerrebæk (talk) 17:50, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Bjerrebæk, you are stating the obvious that this article is about the Abel Prize; I was suggesting to add a single mention of the Fields medal; how can that 'derail' anything? Do you think the Grammy Award article is 'derailed' by the mention of Emmy, Tony Awards etc in the lead? The previous discussion referred to an edit that was clumsy and unnecessary (about which award is the most prestigious – that's irrelevant). In fact the two awards are related because a large number of sources refer to both of them as 'Nobel Prize for Mathematics', and that's enough to warrant a mention on Wikipedia. Your latest edit circumvents the problem by avoiding the expression 'Nobel Prize for Mathematics'; do you see that as an improvement? --Deeday-UK (talk) 16:53, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't see it as necessary to use the expression "Nobel Prize for Mathematics" when the prize's relationship to the Nobel Prize can be described in a more precise and accurate way. Mentioning an unrelated prize for junior scientists, which is very different from both the Abel Prize and the Nobel Prize, in the middle of that discussion does indeed derail such a discussion and is unnecessary. I don't see what the article on the Abel Prize has to gain by mentioning the Fields medal in the introduction. The only reason for mentioning one other prize here, the Nobel Prize, is because the Abel Prize is deliberately modelled after (and very similar to) the Nobel Prize and conceived in response to it in 1899. The Abel Prize has no such relationship to any other prizes, and the introduction of this article is not supposed to be a list or discussion of all important prizes that exist in the field of mathematics. There are other articles for that. There is a fundamental difference between a prize awarded to early-career scientists below the age of 40, and a prize awarded to the most distinguished scientists in a field, such as the Abel and Nobel prizes. --Bjerrebæk (talk) 15:58, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
@Bjerrebæk: you are repeating yourself almost line by line. You may not like it, but the Abel Prize is commonly described as the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics", and so is the Fields medal (look at all the sources); the article should reflect this simple fact, not some editor's narrow views. However, if the simple mention of the F-word troubles you because you think it would contaminate this precious little corner of Norwegian purity on Wikipedia, I won't insist. The current text is passable – albeit incomplete – and I don't feel like starting an edit war over it. --Deeday-UK (talk) 18:32, 24 March 2016 (UTC)