Celebration in Honor of the Gopal Prasad Professorship

On May 26, 2022, IAS celebrated the establishment of the Gopal Prasad Professorship, in recognition of prolific mathematician and six-time IAS Member Gopal Prasad. The event began with opening remarks from IAS Director and Leon Levy Professor David Nirenberg, who noted the Prasad family’s longtime association with the Institute, both as Members and Friends, and Professor James Stone, who extended his thanks for the Prasad family's generous gift to the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, which helps ensure future scholars have the opportunity to benefit from the uniquely edifying environment at IAS.

It was followed by a lecture delivered by inaugural Gopal Prasad Professor Peter Sarnak and Robert and Luisa Fernholz Professor Akshay Venkatesh. They provided an overview of the impact Gopal Prasad’s work has had on mathematics, specifically mass formulae, geometries and dynamics. The event continued with lectures from past Member Andrei Rapinchuk (2005, 2018) and past Member Brian Conrad (1997–98) on Gopal Prasad’s contribution to the arithmetic theory of algebraic groups and matrix group dynamics, respectively. 

Prasad Collage
Andrea Kane

The event concluded with a dinner celebrating Gopal Prasad and his family—where Ila and Anoop, Gopal’s children, and his brother and past Member (1988–89) Shrawan Kumar spoke about their family and IAS, in addition to remarks from Nirenberg, Sarnak, and Tasho Kaletha, past Veblen Research Instructor (2010–13) and von Neumann Fellow (2020). 

Currently the Raoul Bott Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Michigan, Gopal Prasad joined IAS as a Member for the first time in 1973, returning every decade through 2013. He had fruitful collaborations with IAS Faculty including Harish-Chandra, Armand Borel, Robert Langlands, Pierre Deligne, and Peter Sarnak that extended beyond his time in Princeton. Additionally, his brothers—Pawan Kumar, Shrawan Kumar, and Dipendra Prasad—were at times either Members or Visiting Professors in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. 

In a press release, Nirenberg said, “For half a century the Prasad family has been intimately associated with the work of the IAS. It is therefore a special joy to see the Prasad name permanently associated with the Institute and its enduring mission.”