Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, a professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers. Varadhan and the six other recipients of this year’s National Medal of Science received their awards from President Obama at a White House ceremony.

Varadhan, who has been recognized for his crucial work on probability theory, is the Frank Jay Gould Professor of Science and professor of mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. His scholarship has centered on the theory of large deviations—the probability of rare events. Varadhan’s contributions have provided a method for understanding a range of phenomena and his work has been employed in a variety of fields, including finance, traffic engineering, and biology.

In 2007, Varadhan was awarded the Abel Prize in Mathematics by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for “his fundamental contributions to probability theory,” which the Academy characterized as “hugely influential” and lauded for its “great conceptual strength and ageless beauty.” Varadhan is one of three Courant mathematicians to win the Abel Prize, which many consider to be the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics.” Professor Peter Lax was selected in 2005 and Professor Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov won in 2009