Professor Sir Martin Herer of Imperial College London received $ 3 million (£ 2.3 million) from the Mark Zuckerberg Science Foundation to develop equations related to stirring a cup of tea.
Professor Herrer, who is dual British and Austrian, won the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics 2021.
The 44-year-old will receive his money and a trophy at the award ceremony next year.
Breakthrough Awards were launched by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Facebook founder Mr. Zuckerberg And his wife Priscilla Chan, as well as Israel – Russian businessman Yuri Milner and his wife Julie Milner and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe.
Professor Herrer said, “I was surprised but apparently very honored. I’m very happy that I can inspire some people to study mathematics or even to understand what math is a little better.”
“Mathematics is the truth. Once you discover something in mathematics, it applies to eternity.”
He had previously won the Fields Medal in 2014 – often described as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Mathematics – and was knighted in 2016.
His work “focuses on creating equations to accurately describe the randomness of movement in time and space, such as how water droplets spread across the surface of a napkin, the growth of bacteria on a petri dish, or the chaotic activity of millions of individuals who make stock trading,” according to Imperial College London.
Known as random partial differential equations (PDEs), Professor Herrer has pushed forward an understanding of the regularity structures that represent random effects on physical systems, “creating an analytical toolkit for studying random PDEs”.
Professor Herer explained: “While the exact details of stock market fluctuations and the movement of water particles are very different, their probability outcome is the same.”
He and his mathematician wife, Professor Xue-Mei Li, moved to London three years ago, where they are currently renting – although they have said they plan to use the £ 2.3m prize to buy a home.