Noam Elkies in 2007
August 25, 1966 |
New York City
|Alma mater||Columbia University,
|Doctoral advisor||Benedict Gross
|Doctoral students||Henry Cohn
|Notable awards||Putnam Fellow|
At age 15, Elkies received a gold medal with a perfect score (one of the 26 participants with the score of 42) at the 22nd, 1982, International Mathematical Olympiad, the youngest ever to do so. Elkies graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1982 and went on to Columbia University, where he won the Putnam competition at the age of sixteen years and four months, making him one of the youngest Putnam Fellows in history. He was a Putnam Fellow two more times during his undergraduate years. After graduating as valedictorian at age 18, summa in Mathematics and Music, he earned his Ph.D., at age 20, under supervision of Benedict Gross and Barry Mazur at Harvard University.
In 1987, he proved that an elliptic curve over the rational numbers is supersingular at infinitely many primes. In 1988, he found a counterexample to Euler's sum of powers conjecture for fourth powers.
His work on these and other problems won him recognition and a position as an associate professor at Harvard in 1990. In 1993, he was made a full, tenured professor at the age of 26. This made him the youngest full professor in the history of Harvard, surpassing previous then-youngest professors Alan Dershowitz, William H. Press, and Lawrence Summers (who were each made full professors at age 28).
He is an accomplished composer and solver of chess problems (winning the 1996 World Chess Solving Championship) and musical compositions. He has discovered many new patterns in Conway's Game of Life and has studied the mathematics of still life patterns in that cellular automaton rule.
Elkies is also renowned for his knowledge of the connections between mathematics and music. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Mathematics and Music.
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