The Abel Prize 2011 goes to John Willard Milnor of Stony Brook University, New York for "pioneering discoveries in topology, geometry and algebra".
When it comes to describing natural phenomena, mathematics is amazingly — even unreasonably — effective. In this article Mario Livio looks at an example of strings and knots, taking us from the mysteries of physical matter to the most esoteric outpost of pure mathematics, and back again.
Nobel Prizewinning Physicist Professor Gerardus 't Hooft has always been fascinated by the mathematical mysteries of nature. He tells Plus about his early life, and what our Universe might really be like.
Knots crop up all over the place, from tying a shoelace to molecular structure, but they are also elegant mathematical objects. Colin Adams asks when is a molecule knot a molecule? and what happens if you try to build a knot out of sticks?