Robert Langlands speaks to officials following word he has been named the Abel Prize Laureate for 2018. (Youtube screenshot)

Mathematician with White Rock roots named to Order of Canada

Robert Langlands honoured at order’s most prestigious level

A world-renowned mathematician who grew up in White Rock has received one of Canada’s highest civilian honours.

Robert Langlands was invested into the Order of Canada Thursday (Nov. 21) by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette during a ceremony at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall.

Thirty-nine were invested in all, with Langlands among three recognized as a companion of the order – the most prestigious of its three levels, recognizing “national pre-eminence or international service or achievement.”

Actor Donald Sutherland was also made a companion, along with filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin.

READ MORE: Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

The order was established in 1967, Canada’s centennial year, and is “how our country honours people who make extraordinary contributions to the nation.”

“The contributions of these trailblazers are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country,” according to information on the Government of Canada website.

Langlands, who graduated from Semiahmoo Secondary in South Surrey, has been honoured many times over the years for his prowess in mathematics.

Often compared to Albert Einstein, he first grabbed the world’s attention in 1967, at the age of 31 – 10 years after leaving White Rock – after suggesting that two previously unlinked fields of mathematics, harmonic analysis and number theory, were indeed connected.

Scholars worldwide credit him with creating “a completely new way of thinking about mathematics.”

Last year, Langland was named the Abel Prize Lauearte for 2018, a distinction bestowed for “outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics. The prize, described as the Nobel Prize for mathematics and presented by King Harald V of Oslo, included a cash prize equal to about US$800,000.

READ MORE: Semiahmoo Secondary alumnus celebrated as mathematical ‘visionary’

– with files from The Canadian Press

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