Philibert Nang from Gabon received the 2011 Ramanujan Prize on Thursday at the Tata Insititute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Becoming the first African recipient of the seven-year-old prize for young mathematicians.
The annual prize was set up to recognise the work of mathematicians under the age of 45 years in developing countries. This is the first time the award ceremony for the USD 15,000 prize is being held in India, fittingly in the year that the Indian government earlier declared as The Year of Mathematics in honour of Srinivasan Ramanujan’s 125th birth anniversary.
“The prize is in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the algebraic theory of D-modules… it is also in recognition of Dr Nang’s pursuit of high level research while engaged in his home country of Gabon,” read the citation.
Nang, 44, works at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Laboratoire de Recherche en Mathématiques in Libreville in Gabon.
“I hope this inspires more people in Africa to go into mathematics,” said Nang. “Very few people in my country are working in this area.”
The Ramanujan prize is jointly awarded by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund and the International Mathematical Union.
Members of the Abel committee were also in the city on Thursday to speak at TIFR.