Peter Sarnak

Peter Sarnak, Professor in the School of Mathematics since 2007, has made major contributions to number theory and to questions in analysis motivated by number theory. His interest in mathematics is wide-ranging, and his research focuses on the theory of zeta functions and automorphic forms with applications to number theory, combinatorics, and mathematical physics.

During a visit to the Institute in the 1970s, the mathematician John Horton Conway, then of Cambridge, spent the ten most interesting minutes of his life. Invited to deliver a talk to the undergraduate math club at Princeton, Conway made his way...

A year ago April, the editors of the Annals of Mathematics, a journal published by the Institute and Princeton University, received an email with a submission by an unknown mathematician. “Bounded Gaps Between Primes” by Yitang Zhang, an...

From the data, you have this remnant of a real object that you want to resurrect. Before you can start to do that, the first thing you need to know is, is it really coming from such and such an object? Are there some good tests or signatures for that?

I sometimes like to think about what it might be like inside a black hole. What does that even mean? Is it really “like” anything inside a black hole? Nature keeps us from ever knowing. (Well, what we know for sure is that nature keeps us from...

The fundamental lemma has been described as a gross understatement. Says Andrew Wiles, a Visitor in the School of Mathematics and an Institute Trustee, “At first, it was thought to be a minor irritant, but it subsequently became clear that it was not a lemma but rather a central problem in the field.”

During the first term of 2007–08, School of Mathematics Professor Jean Bourgain and Member Van Vu of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, ran a program on arithmetic combinatorics. The Members in residence for the program ranged from...