We are very happy to let you know that Pierre Deligne was awarded the 2013 Abel Prize. As we mentioned a few years ago, has quickly become one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics. It’s given to people who have had a long career of deep, important, and influential research.
Unfortunately, unlike last year’s winner Endre Szemerédi, Deligne’s research is not as easy to explain to people. Fortunately, Tim Gowers has again done a great job of providing us with an easy to read essay about the Abel Prizewinner’s research for nonexperts. You can find a link to it here on his blog. We do have to quote his opening paragraph, though:
Pierre Deligne is indisputably one of the world’s greatest mathematicians. He has received many major awards, including the Fields Medal in 1978, the Crafoord Prize in 1988, the Balzan Prize in 2004, and the Wolf Prize in 2008. While one never knows who will win the Abel Prize in any given year, it was virtually inevitable that Deligne would win it in due course, so today’s announcement is about as small a surprise as such announcements can be.
— From Dr. Gower’s Abel Prize essay on Deligne
Because of his many important contributions to math, in 2006 the king of Belgium (Deligne’s home country) made Deligne a viscount. Deligne designed his own coat of arms:
The Simons Foundation has a nice biographical essay about Deligne. They also have a video interview with him where discusses his earliest mathematical memories. And, of course, slashdot gives it’s usual incisive analysis :-).