2007 EMET Prize Laureate – Exact Sciences
Prof. Vitali Milman is awarded the EMET Prize for his crucial role in the discovery and development of the Concentration of Measure Phenomenon and its implications to geometric analysis, and especially for understanding the asymptotic properties of finite dimensional normed spaces, as well as for his essential contribution to the enhancement of excellence in mathematics in Israel.
Prof. Vitali Milman was born in the Soviet Union in 1939. He worked in the Physical Institute of Low Temperature of the Russian Academy of Sciences for four years, where he completed his doctorate in 1965. Prior to immigrating to Israel in 1973 he was a senior researcher at the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Academy of Sciences. Upon arrival in Israel he joined the academic staff of Tel Aviv University, where he is a full professor. He served as head of the Department of Pure Mathematics. He is incumbent of the Argentinean Chair in Mathematics at Tel Aviv University since 1992, and has also served as the President of the Israel Mathematical Union.
In his studies he discovered and developed several central mathematical phenomena in Analysis, among them the Concentration of Measure phenomenon and the Spectrum/Distortion phenomenon. He was also the driving force behind the development of the Asymptotic Theory of Normed Spaces. He unified it with the classical Convexity Theory and turned it into a new field – Asymptotic Geometric Analysis.
Alongside of his research work he is the founder and chief editor of one of the most prestigious mathematical journals in the world – Geometric and Functional Analysis. He has also served in the editorial board of other international journals. He participated in advisory committees and was member in various boards of directors. As a former immigrant he helped in bringing other scientists from the former Soviet Union and aided their absorption in research and science institutions in Israel.
His work won him the Landau Prize in Mathematics. He was invited to deliver some of the most prestigious lectures in the world of mathematics, among them at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Berkeley (1986) and Berlin (1998). In 1996 he delivered a plenary address in the closing session of the Second European Congress of Mathematics in Budapest.