Akshay Venkatesh

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Akshay Venkatesh
Born (1981-11-21) 21 November 1981 (age 35)
New Delhi, India
Nationality Australian
Alma mater Princeton University
University of Western Australia
Awards SASTRA Ramanujan Prize (2008)
Salem Prize (2007)
Infosys Prize (2016)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Stanford University
Doctoral advisor Peter Sarnak

Akshay Venkatesh (born 21 November 1981) is an Indian Australian mathematician. His research interests are in the fields of counting, equidistribution problems in automorphic forms and number theory, in particular representation theory, locally symmetric spaces and ergodic theory.[1] He is the only Australian to have won medals at both the International Physics Olympiad and International Mathematics Olympiad, which he did at the age of 12.[2][3]

Early years[edit]

Raised in Perth, Western Australia, where he attended Scotch College, Venkatesh attended extracurricular training classes for gifted students in the state mathematical olympiad program.[4] In 1993, whilst aged only 11, he competed at the 24th International Physics Olympiad in Williamsburg, Virginia, winning a bronze medal.[5] The following year in 1994, he switched his attention to mathematics, and after placing second in the Australian Mathematical Olympiad,[6] he won a silver medal in the 6th Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad,[7] before winning a bronze medal in the International Mathematics Olympiad held in Hong Kong that year. He completed his secondary education that year, turning 13 at the end of the year. He entered the University of Western Australia the following year as the youngest ever student at the institution and was awarded First Class Honours in Pure mathematics[8] in 1997, the youngest ever to achieve this feat, as well as being awarded the J. A. Woods Memorial Prize for being the leading graduating student of the year.[9]

Research career[edit]

Venkatesh commenced his PhD at Princeton University in 1998 under Peter Sarnak, which he completed in 2002, producing the thesis Limiting forms of the trace formula. He was supported by the Hackett Fellowship for postgraduate study. He was then awarded a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a C.L.E. Moore instructor. Venkatesh then held a Clay Research Fellowship from the Clay Mathematics Institute from 2004 to 2006, and was an associate professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.[10] He was a member of the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study from 2005 to 2006.[11] Since 1 September 2008, he has been a professor at Stanford University.

Venkatesh was awarded the Salem Prize[9] and the Packard Fellowship in 2007 and the 2008 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize.[12] The $10,000 prize was given at the International Conference on Number Theory and Modular Forms, held at SASTRA University, Kumbakonam, Ramanujan's hometown. In 2010, he was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians (Hyderabad).[13] For his exceptionally wide ranging, foundational and creative contributions to modern number theory, Venkatesh was awarded the Infosys Prize in Mathematical Sciences[14] in 2016.

Akshay Venkatesh has made contributions to a wide variety of areas in mathematics, including number theory, automorphic forms, representation theory, locally symmetric spaces and ergodic theory, by himself, and in collaboration with several mathematicians. Some samples are:

– Using Ergodic methods, Venkatesh, jointly with Jordan Ellenberg, made significant progress on the Hasse principle for integral representations of quadratic forms by quadratic forms.[15][16]

– In a series of join works with Manfred Einsiedler, Elon Lindenstrauss and Philippe Michel, Venkatesh revisited the Linnik ergodic method and solved a longstanding conjecture of Yuri Linnik on the distribution of torus orbits attached to cubic number fields.[17][18]

– Venkatesh also provided a very novel and more direct way of establishing sub-convexity estimates for L-functions in numerous cases, going beyond the foundational work of Hardy-Littlewood-Weyl, Burgess, and Duke-Friedlander-Iwaniec that dealt with important special cases.[19][20] This approach eventually resulted in the complete resolution by Venkatesh and Philippe Michel of the sub-convexity problem for GL(1) and GL(2) L-functions over general number fields.[21][22]


  1. ^ Clay Mathematics Institute
  2. ^ "Former Australian IMO Team Members". Australian Mathematics Trust. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Maths boy wonder shows how to stack oranges". University of Western Australia. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  4. ^ memoirs
  5. ^ "XXIV International Physics Olympiad Williamsburg". 1993. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Highest AMO scorers, 1994". Australian Mathematics Trust. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Results of 6th Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad 1994". Australian Mathematics Trust. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b NYU's Venkatesh, 25, Wins Prize Given to Young Mathematicians for Work in Field of Analysis, New York University, 22 August 2007, retrieved 2014-09-06.
  10. ^ A. Venkatesh Preprints
  11. ^ IAS Community of Scholars
  12. ^ "Venkatesh Awarded 2008 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize" (PDF), Notices of the AMS, 56 (1): 56, January 2009 
  13. ^ International Mathematical Union (IMU) . "ICM Plenary and Invited Speakers since 1897". mathunion.org. Retrieved on 16 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Infosys Prize - Laureates 2016 - Prof. Akshay Venkatesh". www.infosys-science-foundation.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03. 
  15. ^ Local-global principles for representations of quadratic forms
  16. ^ Local-global principles for representations of quadratic forms (ArXiv version)
  17. ^ The distribution of periodic torus orbits and Duke's theorem for cubic fields
  18. ^ The distribution of periodic torus orbits and Duke's theorem for cubic fields(ArXiv version)
  19. ^ Sparse equidistribution problems, period bounds, and subconvexity
  20. ^ Sparse equidistribution problems, period bounds, and subconvexity (ArXiv version)
  21. ^ The subconvexity problem for GL(2)
  22. ^ The subconvexity problem for GL(2) (ArXiv version)

External links[edit]