George Pólya Prize
Please note: this form of the Polya Prize is no longer used. This page is retained for the historical record only. Please see
for the current information. These two prizes superseded the older form of the prize, starting in 2015.
The George Pólya Prize, established in 1969, is given every two years, alternately in two categories: (1) for a notable application of combinatorial theory; (2) for a notable contribution in another area of interest to George Pólya such as approximation theory, complex analysis, number theory, orthogonal polynomials, probability theory, or mathematical discovery and learning.
The prize is broadly intended to recognize specific recent work. Prize committees may occasionally consider an award for cumulative work, but such awards should be rare.
The prize committee will consist of a panel of five SIAM members appointed by the president. One of the members will be designated by the president as chair. Members of the prize committee must be appointed at least eighteen months before the prize award date.
The committee for each prize award serves from the date of appointment until the prize is awarded. If the committee reports that no prize winner has been chosen, and if this report is accepted by the Executive Committee of the SIAM Council, the committee's duties will be completed.
Rules of Operation
The committee will determine its own procedures and rules of operation.
There are no restrictions on eligibility beyond those specified in the Principal Guidelines.
Strong preference should be given by the prize committee to selecting one person as the prize winner. The prize committee will notify the president of its recommendation at least ten months before the prize award date. The committee's report must include a written justification and a citation of about 100 words that may be read at the time of the award.
Approval by the Executive Committee of the SIAM Council
The president will report the committee's recommendation to the Executive Committee of the SIAM Council, which will accept or reject the committee's choice not later than eight months before the award date.
If the prize committee's nomination is accepted by the Executive Committee of the SIAM Council, the award presentation will be made as described later. If the initial nomination is not accepted, the prize committee may present a second nomination, in sufficient time for the Executive Committee of the SIAM Council to make a decision at least seven months before the award date.
Notification of the Prize Winner
The president will notify the recipient not later than six months prior to the award date.
Description of the Award
Nature of the Award
Each recipient of the George Pólya Prize shall receive an engraved medal and a cash award. The total to be awarded for all winners shall be $20,000. If more than one person receives the prize, the cash award is to be divided equally among the recipients. Expenses for travel by one recipient to the prize award ceremony will be paid by the prize fund.
The prize is given every two years.
The prize will be awarded by the president at the SIAM annual meeting. The chair of the prize committee will announce the winner, read the citation, and present the winner to the president.
The George Pólya Prize was first established in 1969 and extended in scope in 1992, following a generous bequest from the estate of Stella V. Pólya.
Past winners of the George Pólya Prize are:
- 1971 R. L. Graham, K. Leeb, B. L. Rothschild, A. W. Hales, and R. I. Jewett
- 1975 R. P. Stanley, E. Szemeredi, and R. M. Wilson
- 1979 L. Lovasz
- 1983 A. Bjorner and P. Seymour
- 1987 A. C. Yao
- 1992 G. Kalai and S. Shelah
- 1994 Gregory Chudnovsky and Harry Kesten
- 1996 Jeffry Ned Kahn and David Reimer
- 1998 Percy Deift, Xin Zhou, and Peter Sarnak
- 2000 Noga Alon
- 2002 Craig A. Tracy and Harold Widom
- 2004 Neil Robertson and Paul Seymour
- 2006 Gregory Lawler, Oded Schramm, and Wendelin Werner
- 2008 Van H. Vu
- 2010 Emmanuel Candès and Terence Tao
- 2012 Vojtěch Rödl and Mathias Schacht
- 2014 Adam W. Marcus, Daniel A. Spielman, and Nikhil Srivastava
The next award will be made at the 2014 SIAM Annual Meeting.
Click here to see a list of selection committee members by year.