George Pólya Prize in Combinatorics
The George Pólya Prize in Combinatorics, originally established in 1969, is awarded every four years for a notable application of combinatorial theory. 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.
Tenure of the Prize Committee
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.
Recommendation by Prize Committee
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 (a short report on the committee's deliberations that justifies the recommendation) 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 in Combinatorics shall receive an engraved medal and a cash award. The total to be awarded for all winners shall be $10,000. 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 four 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 established in 1969 as a quadrennial prize in combinatorics. It was extended in scope in 1992, following a generous bequest from the estate of Stella V. Pólya. It was extended to be given biennially alternately in two categories: (1) for a notable application of combinatorial theory; (2) for a notable contribution in another field of interest to George Polya, such as approximation theory, complex analysis, number theory, orthogonal polynomials, probability theory, or mathematical discovery and learning. In 2013, the George Pólya Prize for Mathematical Exposition (first awarded in 2015) was created to bring greater emphasis to Pólya’s legacy of communicating mathematics effectively. At the same time, the biennial prize was divided into two quadrennial prizes, the George Pólya Prize in Combinatorics (based on the former category 1 and first awarded in 2016) and the George Pólya Prize in Mathematics (based on the former category 2 and first awarded in 2014).
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
Recipients of the George Pólya Prize in the category of a notable application of combinatorial theory:
- 1996 Jeffry Ned Kahn and David Reimer
- 2000 Noga Alon
- 2004 Neil Robertson and Paul Seymour
- 2008 Van H. Vu
- 2012 Vojtěch Rödl and Mathias Schacht
Recipients of the George Pólya Prize in Combinatorics:
- 2016 Jozsef Balogh, Robert Morris, and Wojciech Samotij,
David Saxton and Andrew Thomason
The next award of the George Pólya Prize in Combinatorics will be given in 2020.
Click here to see a list of selection committee members by year.