Alessio Figalli, born in Rome, Italy, in 1984 has made his mark in mathematical history, conquering the highest prestige in mathematics for his contributions to optimal transport theory.
Among his favorite things about mathematics is his ability to work from anywhere in the world, but his home life is far from optimal. To his dismay, he sees his wife only every ten days, but hopes for a quick resolution. “I have solved some difficult problems in my career and I have work for the next 30 or 40 years. There is one problem I really hope to solve soon, that is me and my wife living in the same city.”
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Now a professor at ETH Zurich, his work connects the isoperimetric problem, which has its roots in Roman mythology, and the optimal transport problem, which explores the cheapest ways to transport a given mass. He is clearly a driving force in today’s global mathematical community, ” said Luis Caffarelli, in a laudatory lecture on Figalli’s work, “His approach is lively, dynamic and effective. He is bound to be one of the most influential mathematicians of his generation.”
As a child, he never realized – or was never told – that his interest in Mathematics could ever become a career. Upon discovering this possibility, he dove in and has excelled in the field ever since.