Like many CTY students, Terence Tao, recipient of the 2014 CTY Distinguished Alumni Award, exhibited extraordinary mathematical abilities at an early age. He worked closely with Julian Stanley, the Johns Hopkins psychologist whose Study of Exceptional Talent led to the creation of CTY.
Tao received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Mathematics from Flinders University. A Fulbright Scholar, he earned his Doctorate in Mathematics from Princeton University. His research primarily focuses on harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, algebraic, arithmetic and geometric combinatorics, analytic number theory, and compressed sensing. Tao has authored more than 250 research papers and 17 books.
He is currently a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where at 24 he was promoted to full professor. No stranger to awards, Tao was a co-recipient of the 2006 Fields Medal, the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, and the 2014 Royal Medal.
Tao was honored at CTY’s Grand Ceremony in Baltimore, which recognized the achievements of 960 top-scoring middle school participants in the 2013-14 CTY Talent Search.
In addition to introducing him to crab cakes, Tao credits Stanley with helping to slow down his accelerated educational career. He offered similar words of wisdom to the students honored at the ceremony.
“Having achievements at an early age, like all of you here, can give you a head start and opens up many opportunities, but in the long run it's all about persistence and endurance,” he said. “You all have very promising futures, but it's not a race. Take your time to find something you love and stick with it.”