Every odd number from seven upwards is the sum of three prime numbers according to Goldbach’s ternary conjecture, which has kept mathematicians busy since the 18th century. They have been searching for evidence to prove or refute the conjecture for over two hundred years - but, in spite of remarkable advances in the early 20th century and steady progress since then, a proof was not forthcoming. In 2013, Peruvian mathematician, Harald Andrés Helfgott, gave a complete proof of the ternary Goldbach conjecture with some computer assistance. And it was not his first breakthrough in mathematics. He has solved fundamental problems on growth in groups and has contributed to the application of diophantine geometry in number theory. He is now set to become an Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Göttingen, reinforcing the research focus on algebraic geometry and number theory and helping Göttingen to advance from an internationally recognised centre of excellence to become a global leader in the field.
Nominating University: University of Göttingen
Prof. Dr. Harald Andrés Helfgott
Born in Peru in 1977, Harald Andrés Helfgott has been a senior researcher at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris since 2010, becoming a research professor in October 2014. He studied in the United States, first at Brandeis University and then at Princeton University, where he took his doctorate in 2003. He continued his career as a postdoc at Yale University, USA, and as a lecturer at the Université de Montréal, Canada. After a sojourn at the University of Bristol, UK, Helfgott joined CNRS in France in 2010. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society and the Société Mathématique de France. In his home country of Peru he holds an honorary professorship at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. In June 2015 he took up his position as a Humboldt Professor at the University of Göttingen.