IAS Trustee Emeritus Among Those Recognized with 2024 Wolf Prizes

IAS Trustee Emeritus Martin Rees, who served on the IAS Board since 1998, has been announced as the winner of the 2024 Wolf Prize in Physics. Described as "one of the most distinguished theoretical physicists of our time," Rees, a frequent past Member in the School of Natural Sciences, was cited for his "fundamental contributions to high-energy astrophysics, galaxies and structure formation, and cosmology."

Rees's work has enhanced physicists' knowledge of the formation of the first stars and galaxies, the development and evolution of massive black holes at galactic centers, and the tidal disruption of stars near these black holes. According to the citation, his efforts have "shaped our deepest understanding of the universe."

Also recognized this year was Noga Alon, who first came to IAS as a Member in the School of Mathematics in 1993. Since then, he has been a regular fixture in the School as a Member, Visitor, and Visiting Professor. Alon, who was praised in the Wolf Prize citation "for his fundamental contributions to combinatorics and theoretical computer science," received the award in Mathematics, alongside Adi Shamir of the Weizmann Institute of Science. 

The citation goes on to describe how Alon's research and developments have "changed the face of the field, created new concepts and original methods, and contributed greatly to the development of theoretical research and their applications in discrete mathematics, information theory, graph theory, and their uses in the theory of computer science. He is one of the most prolific mathematicians in the world, published hundreds of articles, and trained many research students in mathematics and computer science."

Now in its 46th year, the Wolf Prize honors "exceptional individuals who transcend barriers of religion, gender, race, geography, and political stance." To date, 382 scientists and artists from around the globe have been recognized. With their receipt of this honor, Rees and Alon join a distinguished group of IAS affiliated Wolf Prize laureates.

This includes Ingrid Daubechies, Member (1999) in the School of Mathematics, who won the 2023 Wolf Prize in Mathematics; Peter Sarnak and Robert Langlands, both Emeritus Professors in the School of Mathematics, who received the same accolade in 2014 and 1995/6 respectively; Freeman Dyson, Professor (1953–2020) in the School of Natural Sciences, who was awarded the 1981 Wolf Prize in Physics; and André Weil, Professor (1958–98) in the School of Mathematics, who, in 1979, shared the second Wolf Prize in Mathematics with frequent Member in the School, Jean Leray.

Read the full citations for Martin Rees and Noga Alon on the Wolf Prize website.