Norway's Ambassador to Hungary, Siri Ellen Sletner, announced officially the decision of the Abel Committee to award the 2012 Abel Prize to Professor Endre Szemeredi for his fundamental contributions to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and in recognition of the profound and lasting impact of these contributions on additive number theory and ergodic theory. The announcement took place at a press conference at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest.
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences called a press conference in Budapest shortly after the Abel Prize announcement was made the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo.
An hour after the official announcement at the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters in Oslo, and only three hours after Professor Szemeredi himself had been notified about the honour, the Hungarian press was informed of the Committee's decision. The prestige of the prize is reflected in the huge turnout: several national television and radio stations, and a large number of printed and online newspapers were present despite the less than two hours' notice, and the announcement has already been published on the front page of the largest online news portals.
"There are probably few nations where mathematics has such strong traditions as in Hungary. It is therefore no coincidence that it is the second time the prize is awarded to a Hungarian-born mathematician" -- emphasised Ambassador Sletner in her opening speech. She continued to praise the significant scientific achievements of Professor Szemeredi: "He lived up to the great expectations by proving several fundamental theorems of tremendous importance. Many of his results have generated research for the future and have laid the foundations for new directions in mathematics. Both the Hungarian scientific community and the country at large has every reason to be proud of the excellent scientific achievements of Professor Szemeredi."
On behalf of the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Vice President Dr. Domokos Szasz, himself a mathematician, and a long-time friend of the newly announced laureate gave a personal tribute to Professor Szemeredi. "While his findings were beautiful solutions to long-standing theoretical mathematical problems, the real significance and the practical consequences of his work were not discovered and understood until years later." Szemeredi's seminal work can only be compared to another famous Hungarian invention: "just as the Rubik cube will exist in a thousand years' time, the ground-breaking theorems of Endre Szemeredi will be known and used by mathematicians in the future."
Szemerédi said that he considers this prize to be an acknowledgement of the great achievements of the often forgotten field of discrete mathematics, which has developed enormously during the last decades. He is proud to be part of this process."This prize proves that Hungarian science, including mathematics is still alive and has a high quality, not just in the fields of theoretical physics or other more visible areas. "If I could have one wish, it would be to continue to support basic research. It is cheap, you only need a paper, a pencil and a few ideas, and we never know what today's research results will lead to in the future."