The George Pólya Prize is given every two years by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) in honor of the Hungarian-Jewish mathematician known for his fundamental contributions to combinatorics, number theory, numerical analysis and probability theory.
The 2012 George Pólya Prize has been awarded to Vojtěch Rödl of Emory University, USA, and Mathias Schacht of the University of Hamburg, Germany, for their notable contributions to the application of combinatorial theory.
Their seminal work on the regularity method for hypergraphs has produced a central body of results developing, extending, and consolidating Szemerédi’s regularity method for hypergraphs. They have also shown how this method leads to remarkable results like the generalized hypergraph removal lemma and the theorem that every decidable, hereditary property of k-uniform hypergraphs is testable with one-sided error.
Drs. Rödl and Schacht each received an engraved medal, and they share a cash award of $20,000. The Polya Prize was awarded at the Prizes and Awards Luncheon at the SIAM Annual Meeting held July 9-13 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Rödl has been affiliated with Emory University for two decades, where he is currently the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. He earned his MS and PhD, both in Mathematics, from Charles University in Prague. His work focuses on discrete mathematics and combinatorics.
Schacht is the Heisenberg Professor in the Discrete Mathematics Research Group of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Hamburg. He earned his PhD in 2004 from Emory University under the mentorship of Rödl, his award co-recipient. His research interests are in graph theory, Ramsey theory and extremal combinatorics, random structures and probabilistic methods, and theoretical computer science.
First established in 1969, the Polya Prize has been awarded every two years since 1992, following a benevolent contribution from the estate of Stella V. Polya. The prize is given alternately in two categories: for a notable application of combinatorial theory and for a notable contribution in another area of interest to George Polya.