06.12.17 - Maryna Viazovksa, a world-renowned mathematician famous for her solution to the sphere-packing problem, has won a New Horizons in Mathematics prize, part of the prestigious Breakthrough Prizes.

The Breakthrough Prizes are international awards given annually in three categories to recognize scientific advancements in the Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics, and Mathematics. The Prizes were founded by Google founder Sergey Brin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki, and other Silicon Valley billionaires and entrepreneurs. The award ceremony was televised, replete with various celebrities from the music and film industry, while the awards themselves have been described as "bigger than the Nobel".

Laureates of the Breakthrough in Mathematics Prize receive $3 million. The Prize includes a subcategory of three New Horizons in Mathematics prizes, also awarded annually to junior researchers in the field of mathematics who have already produced important work. The New Horizons include $100,000 per winner.

This year, one of the New Horizon prizes has been awarded to Professor Maryna Viazovska who holds EPFL’s Chair of Number Theory. Professor Viazovska is honored for “remarkable application of the theory of modular forms to the sphere-packing problem in special dimensions.”

Maryna Viazovska was born in Kiev in 1984. She received her BSc in Mathematics in 2005 at the Kiev National Taras Shevchenko University, her masters from the University of Kaiserslautern (2007), and her PhD in 2013 from the University of Bonn. She has received several awards and recognitions, including the Salem Prize in 2016, and the Clay Research Award and SASTRA Ramanujan Prize in 2017.

The Breakthrough in Mathematics is funded by a grant from Mark Zuckerberg’s fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and a grant from the James Milner Foundation. In total, the 2018 Breakthrough Prizes awarded $22 million to researchers.

Full Breakthrough Prizes 2017 press release

Official announcement for Maryna Viazovska