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For thirty years, mathematicians around the world worked to prove the fundamental lemma for automorphic forms, a technical device conjectured by the Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands that underpinned his revolutionary theory that connected the mathematical branches of group theory and number theory. In 2009, University of Chicago faculty member Ngô Bảo Châu developed an ingenious proof that confirmed the device, validating mathematicians’ work in this area over the past three decades. For this work, Ngô received the prestigious Fields Medal in 2010.


Born June 28, 1972, in Hanoi, the innovative mathematician studied at Paris VI University and the École Normale Supérieure before earning a PhD from Universite Paris-Sud in 1997. He joined the French National Center for Scientific Research at Paris 13 University in 1998 before becoming a professor in University 11 in 2004.


Ngô has worked at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study and the Hanoi Institute of Mathematics since 2007. He joined the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago in 2010. His numerous awards and honors include the Clay Research Award in 2004, the Oberwolfach Prize and Prix Sophie Germain in 2007, the Legion of Honor in 2011, and fellowship in the American Mathematical Society in 2012. Additionally, his proof confirming the fundamental lemma was named one of Time’s Top 10 Scientific Discoveries in 2009.

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Math faculty member and first Vietnamese national to win a Fields Medal, proved the Fundamental Lemma in the theory of automorphic forms

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Photo Source: Courtesy of Ngô Bảo Châu

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