Karen Uhlenbeck Is First Woman to Win Abel Prize for Mathematics #Math @NYTimes

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Best known for her work with bubbles (or geometric analysis), Uhlenbeck has made history. The Abel Prize is sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize for math. The New York Times did a great write up of Uhlenbeck and her work!

In her early work, Dr. Uhlenbeck essentially figured out the shape of soap films in higher-dimensional curved spaces. This is an example of what mathematicians call optimization problems, which are often very difficult and can have zero solutions, one solution or many solutions.

“You can ask a question of when you have a soap bubble in this n-dimensional space,” she said. “You don’t know ahead of time what the shapes of those minimal soap bubbles are going to be.”

The universe is often lazy, looking for solutions that take the least amount of energy.

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