The Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research is awarded for a paper, whether recent or not, that has proved to be of fundamental or lasting importance in its field, or a model of important research.
Special Note: The Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research is awarded according to the following six-year rotation of subject areas:
1. Open (2025)
2. Analysis/Probability (2020)
3. Algebra/Number Theory (2021)
4. Applied Mathematics (2022)
5. Geometry/Topology (2023)
6. Discrete Mathematics/Logic (2024)
These prizes were established in 1970 in honor of George David Birkhoff, William Fogg Osgood, and William Caspar Graustein, and are endowed under the terms of a bequest from Leroy P. Steele. From 1970 to 1976 one or more prizes were awarded each year for outstanding published mathematical research; most favorable consideration was given to papers distinguished for their exposition and covering broad areas of mathematics. In 1977 the Council of the AMS modified the terms under which the prizes are awarded. In 1993, the Council formalized the three categories of the prize by naming each of them: (1) The Leroy P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement; (2) The Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition; and (3) The Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research.
The amount of this prize is US$5,000.Most Recent Prize: 2020
The 2020 Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research in Analysis/Probability Theory is awarded to Craig Tracy and Harold Widom for the paper "Level-spacing distributions and the Airy kernel," published in 1994 in Communications in Mathematical Physics.
Prize announcement as seen in the news release.See previous winners
Nominations can be submitted between February 1 and March 31. Nominations for the Steele Prizes for Seminal Contribution to Research Exposition should include a letter of nomination, a complete bibliographic citation for the work being nominated, and a brief citation to be used in the event that the nomination is successful. For questions about this award please contact the AMS Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.