The Abel Prize for 2020 has been awarded to two mathematicians – Hillel Furstenberg and Gregory Margulis, for their work in “pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics”.

According to the press release:

“The works of Furstenberg and Margulis have demonstrated the effectiveness of crossing boundaries between separate mathematical disciplines and brought down the traditional wall between pure and applied mathematics,” says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel committee.

He continues: “Furstenberg and Margulis stunned the mathematical world by their ingenious use of probabilistic methods and random walks to solve deep problems in diverse areas of mathematics. This has opened up a wealth of new results, such as the existence of long arithmetic progressions of prime numbers, understanding the structure of lattices in Lie groups, and the construction of expander graphs with applications to communication technology and computer science, to mention a few.”

The Abel Prize website has a page with more information, including a lay summary by Arne B. Sletsjøe.