news highlights

Mathematics Role Model

Carolina Araujo accepts 2020 Ramanujan Prize

Professor Carolina Araujo, recipient of the 2020 Ramanujan Prize, speaking during the virtual ceremony
Professor Carolina Araujo, recipient of the 2020 Ramanujan Prize, speaking during the virtual ceremony


In a virtual ceremony held on 9 December and watched online by hundreds around the world, Professor Carolina Araujo was presented with the 2020 Ramanujan Prize.

Araujo, of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, specializes in algebraic geometry, including birational geometry and foliations. She has been a Simons Associate with ICTP since 2015, and is the vice president of the Committee for Women in Mathematics at the International Mathematical Union (IMU).

"It is my great honour to receive the Ramanujan Prize 2020," said Araujo, who attended the ceremony virtually from Brazil. "I would like to thank ICTP, the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India and IMU for funding this remarkable prize that recognizes and celebrates our work in less developed countries." Araujo stated her appreciation for the prize's ability to highlight basic science. "In times like this, science and fact-based policies are indispensable," she said.

Araujo is the second woman to win the Ramanujan Prize, which was established in 2005 to honour young mathematicians from developing countries. Her key role in promoting women in mathematics and in the organization of important mathematical activities was also acknowledged by the Prize. "This prize is a great incentive and adds to the certainty that this struggle for diversity and inclusion in science is the right one," she said, adding her belief that mathematical talent is a human quality that "transcends geographic boundaries and has neither race nor gender."

Thanks to her ICTP Associateship supported by the Simons Foundation, Araujo has been able to visit ICTP several times. "These visits represent some of the most productive periods in my career. It has been a great privilege to enjoy ICTP's vibrant scientific atmosphere, while being completely free to develop my own research," she said.

She had encouraging words for young mathematicians who are considering the field as a career: "First, accept and appreciate your singularities as a mathematician. Each person has their own point of view, their own pace, and I believe that your true mathematics can only flourish if it is done in harmony with your own self. Second, be surrounded by supportive people, those that believe in you and want to see you succeed."

A recording of Araujo's acceptance speech and Prize lecture can be viewed on ICTP's YouTube channel.

ICTP administers the Ramanujan Prize jointly with the Department of Science and Technology (DST, Government of India), and the International Mathematical Union (IMU). The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country who is less than 45 years of age on 31 December of the year of the award, and who has conducted outstanding research in a developing country.

A call for nominations for the 2021 Prize is now open: the deadline is 1 March 2021.