The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced that Karen Uhlenbeck is the recipient of the 2019 Abel Prize, a distinction comparable to the Nobel Prize.
Karen was the first Richardson Chair holder appointed to our department, in 1987.
In 2014, she received Emerita status, and currently resides in Princeton, NJ, where she holds
visiting positions at Princeton University and at IAS.
The statement from our department, cited by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, states (many thanks to Dan Freed for helping to prepare it):
At the University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Mathematics, we are delighted and tremendously proud of Karen Uhlenbeck, recipient of the 2019 Abel Prize. Karen was appointed as the first Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regent's Chairs in Mathematics in 1987. As a maverick mathematician, she regularly pursues new directions of research. At UT Austin, she transformed the fabric of the department with her broad view of mathematics and beyond, creating a vibrant, diverse geometry group. Her insatiable curiosity fuels both her deep vision in mathematics and wisdom in the human sphere, which was evident in her legendary generosity and attention to mentorship, especially benefiting young mathematicians: graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and junior faculty members alike. She was one of the founders of the IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute, which inspired outreach activities at UT Austin, including one of the first Math Circles in the country, and her leadership made possible the Women and Mathematics program at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. It is immensely fitting that Karen receives the Abel Prize for her eminent research accomplishments. We congratulate Karen and express our gratitude for her 25 years at UT Austin, which left a legacy that we are celebrating today and which will live on for a long time.