Dennis Sullivan, uniter of topology and chaos, wins the Abel prize

Dennis Sullivan has always been driven by mathematical insights that are general and beautiful and have the power to amaze — “something that grabs you, like a piece of music,” he said.

An encounter with one such theorem during his second year of college spurred him to switch his major from chemical engineering to mathematics; other encounters like it would later inspire him to spend years or even decades on a particular problem.

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