By Zeeya Merali
The Abel prize--considered the "Nobel" prize of mathematics--has been awarded to John Tate, recently retired from the University of Texas at Austin, for his work on algebraic number theory, the mathematical discipline that deals with connections between whole numbers and lies at the heart of Internet security.
Established in 2002, the Abel Prize is presented annually by the King of Norway and carries a cash award of $1 million.
"Number theory knits together the subtle and strange properties of whole numbers in a beautiful way," says mathematician Ian Stewart at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK. "Tate has really made himself the master of number theory."