The Abel Prize for Mathematics was awarded to Israeli-American Hillel Furstenberg and Russian born Gregory Margulis by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Both the awardees are probability experts. They were honoured for pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics.
They used the technique to investigate mathematical objects such as groups and graphs and in so ding introduced probabilistic methods to solve many open problems.
The duo invented so called random walk techniques, or path consisting of a succession of random steps. The study of random walks is a central branch of probability theory.
Furstenberg, 84, is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, while Margulis, a decade younger, is at Yale University.
Born in Berlin, but fled Nazi Germany with family for the USA just before the start of World War-II. After starting his career at top universities like Princeton and MIT he left the US for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1965 and stayed there until his retirement in 2003.
At the age of 16, he won the silver medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad, and 16 years later won the Prestigious Fields Medal. in 2001, he was elected a member of the US National Academy of Science