Just two days ago, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters awarded mathematician John Milnor the 2011 Abel Prize. Though it was just awarded, the prize is in recognition of decades of work. Here’s a link to the short piece on NPR show *All Things Considered*. And here’s a direct link to the Abel prize website. And here’s a snippet from the Scientific American article:

Dimension-Cruncher: Exotic Spheres Earn Mathematician John Milnor an Abel Prize

His discovery that some seven-dimensional spheres look different under the lens of calculus spurred decades of research in topology.John Milnor, an American mathematician best known for the discovery of exotic hyperspheres, was awarded the 2011 Abel Prize, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced March 23.

Milnor, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York State, got a call at his Long Island home at 6 A.M. informing him he was receiving the $1-million prize—an honor first awarded in 2003 as mathematics’ answer to the Nobel Prizes. “I knew I was a possible candidate, but I certainly didn’t expect it,” says Milnor, 80, who had already earned numerous awards during his career, including a Fields Medal in 1962 and a Wolf Prize in 1989. Milnor is the second consecutive American-born Abel laureate; the 2010 prize went to John Tate of the University of Texas at Austin for his contributions to number theory.

The reason I’m linking to lots of other sources is because I don’t understand Milnor’s results very well :-). But it sounds impressive.

*[Hat tip: Raynell Cooper]*