Harald Helfgott

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Harald Andrés Helfgott
Harald Helfgott (mathematician).jpg
Lecturing at IPAM in May 2014
Born (1977-11-25) 25 November 1977 (age 39)
Lima, Peru
Residence France
Fields Mathematics
Institutions CNRS/Université de Paris VI/VII
University of Göttingen
Alma mater Brandeis University (BA)
Princeton University (PhD)
Doctoral advisor Henryk Iwaniec[1][2]
Peter Sarnak[2]
Notable awards Leverhulme Prize (2008)
Whitehead Prize (2010)
Adams Prize (2011)
Humboldt Professorship (2015)

Harald Andrés Helfgott (born November 25, 1977) is a Peruvian mathematician born in Lima.[1] His main areas of research are number theory and related topics. Helfgott is a researcher (Directeur de Recherche) at the CNRS at the Institut Mathématique de Jussieu, Paris.[3] As of 2015 he is an Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Göttingen.[4]


Helfgott became active early on in the mathematical community in Lima, his home city.[5] He graduated from Brandeis University in 1998 (BA, summa cum laude).[6] He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2003 under the direction of Henryk Iwaniec[6][7] (and Peter Sarnak),[7] with the thesis Root numbers and the parity problem.[8]

He has given extracurricular courses in Peru, Cuba, Brazil, India, Bolivia, Switzerland and Chile,[6][9] and co-organized summer schools in India[6] and Brazil.[10]


In 2013, he released two papers claiming to be a proof of Goldbach's weak conjecture; the claim is now broadly accepted.[11] The problem had a history of over 250 years without a full proof.

In 2016 Helfgott spotted a subtle error in the proof of the Graph isomorphism problem that was announced by László Babai in 2015. Babai subsequently fixed his proof.[12]


In 2008, Helfgott was awarded the Leverhulme Mathematics Prize for his work on number theory, diophantine geometry and group theory.[13][14]

In June 2010, Helfgott received the Whitehead Prize by the London Mathematical Society for his contributions to number theory, including work on Möbius sums in two variables, integral points on elliptic curves, and for his work on growth and expansion of multiplication of sets in SL2(Fp).[15]

In February 2011, Helfgott was awarded the Adams Prize jointly with Tom Sanders.[16]

In 2014, he was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul[17] and in 2015 he won a Humboldt Professorship.[11]



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