MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2006

Terence Tao


Professor, Department of Mathematics

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Age: 31 at time of award

Published September 1, 2006
Image of Terence Tao

Terence Tao is a mathematician who has developed profound insights into a host of difficult areas, including partial differential equations, harmonic analysis, combinatorics, and number theory. He has made significant advances in problems such as Horn’s Conjecture, which he and Allen Knutson showed can be reduced to a geometric combinatorial configuration known as a “honeycomb”; this problem holds deep implications for more abstract mathematical relationships in algebraic combinatorics. His analysis of the Schroedinger equation, a central element of quantum mechanics, has provided new avenues for solving nonlinear partial differential equations. Recently, with Ben Green, Tao offered a proof of the longstanding conjecture that there exist arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions consisting only of prime numbers. (For millennia, mathematicians have studied the properties of prime numbers, which find important applications in cryptography among other things.) In addition to his research, Tao has taken a leadership role in educating mathematics students through his web site, commentaries, books, and lectures. His work is characterized by breadth and depth, technical brilliance and profound insight, placing him as one of the outstanding mathematicians of his time.

Terence Tao was born in Adelaide, Austrailia in 1975 and received an M.Sc. (1992) from Flinders University of South Australia and a Ph.D. (1996) from Princeton University. He is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he has taught since 1996, when he joined the department as the Hedrick Assistant Professor. He has been a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales (2000) and an honorary professor at Australia National University (2001-2003). Tao has authored and contributed to several books, and his numerous articles have appeared in such publications as the Annals of Mathematics, Acta Mathematica, and the American Journal of Mathematics.


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Terence Tao In the Media

"Maths Whizz Solves a Master’s Riddle" thumbnail

"Maths Whizz Solves a Master’s Riddle"

Terence Tao , 2006 MacArthur Fellow
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"Terence Tao’s Airport-Inspired Puzzle" thumbnail

"Terence Tao’s Airport-Inspired Puzzle"

The New York Times
Terence Tao , 2006 MacArthur Fellow
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"The Singular Mind of Terry Tao" thumbnail

"The Singular Mind of Terry Tao"

The New York Times
Terence Tao , 2006 MacArthur Fellow
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"Terence Tao: the Mozart of Maths" thumbnail

"Terence Tao: the Mozart of Maths"

The Age
Terence Tao , 2006 MacArthur Fellow
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“Mathematician Tries to Solve Wave Equations” thumbnail

“Mathematician Tries to Solve Wave Equations”

National Science Foundation
Terence Tao , 2006 MacArthur Fellow
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"Terence Tao- The Colbert Report" thumbnail

"Terence Tao- The Colbert Report"

The Colbert Report
Terence Tao , 2006 MacArthur Fellow
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About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

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