Crafoord prize in mathematics and astronomy awarded to top scientists

The Crafoord Prize 2016 is awarded to three international top scientists for their groundbreaking discoveries. Two Laureates shares the prize in astronomy and one is awarded the prize in mathematics. The prize amounts to 6 million SEK per prize, the Laureates in astronomy share the prize equally.  There will be opportunities for individual interviews during the Crafoord Days in Lund and Stockholm. 

The Crafoord Prize is one of the most prestigious scientific prizes in the world. It is awarded annually in categories not covered by other big Swedish awards. The Laureates of the Crafoord Prize 2016 in Astronomy, professor Roy Kerr, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand and professor Roger Blandford, Stanford University, CA, USA, are awarded the prize “for fundamental work concerning rotating black holes and their astrophysical consequences”. Laureate in mathematics, professor Yakov Eliashberg, Stanford University, CA, USA, is awarded the prize “for the development of contact and symplectic topology and groundbreaking discoveries of rigidity and flexibility phenomena.”

New Zealander Roy Kerr solved Einstein's equations for rotating black holes mathematically 48 years after it was formulated in the theory of General Relativity but before they even could be observed through telescopes. The discovery is described in the book “Cracking the Einstein Code” by Fulvio Melia. With an amazing personal story and a colorful life, he is an exciting laureate!

Roger Blandford, originally from Great Britain, has been studying black holes and explaining how the black holes can emit light so strongly. He has created and refined models of how gas surrounding black holes flows towards it, it, is heated up and transforms some of its gravitational energy to radiation. At the same time, electrically charged particles are sent millions of kilometres into space in the form of powerful jets. The source of all of this power is the rotational energy of the massive black hole.

Yakov Eliashberg,  was born in the USSR. After his doctorate in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) he  taught and worked in north-western former Soviet Union for many years. In 1988 he managed to get out of the Soviet Union and via Italy, he moved to the United States.

During the Crafoord Days the Laureates will hold lectures in the Crafoord Prize hometown Lund, in the South of Swede, during Tuesday 24 May. The next day symposia will be held in Stockholm in each prize category, to be followed the next day by a prize ceremony where the Laureates will receive their prizes from the hand of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

During the prize award ceremony the recipients of the Crafoord grant is presented. This years recipients are:

Robert Wagner, Stockholms University, Yvonne Becherini, Linné University, Alexei Iantchenko, Malmö University 

Thomas Kragh, Uppsala University, Boris Shapiro, Stockholm University, Anna Sakovich, Uppsala University

Find a detailed programme at

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Facts about the Crafoord Prize: 
In 1980, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences received a considerable donation from the Lund industrialist Holger Crafoord and his wife Anna-Greta. This donation forms the basis of the Anna-Greta and Holger Crafoord Fund, whose aims are to promote pure research in mathematics and astronomy, biosciences (in the first place ecology), geosciences and polyarthritis (rheumatoid arthritis). This is an international prize that is awarded to researchers who have made decisive contributions within their fields. The award is made for one field per year in a fixed order. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Crafoord Prize for the first time in 1982. The prize money is 6 million Swedish kronor.