2024 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award goes to Claire Voisin


The 2024 Frontiers of Knowledge Award of the Fundación BBVA goes to Claire Voisin and Yakov Eliashberg for work that has driven forward mathematical thought by building bridges between two key areas of geometry. 

The two laureates have made “outstanding contributions to the development of two sides of geometry that involve “spaces of high dimensions which are difficult to visualize and necessitate new mathematical techniques to understand and study,” in the words of the award citation

  • They have successfully “crossed the boundary between two types of geometry, exchanging ideas and tools that have “inspired a high level of activity in international research” in this branch of mathematics.
  • These two areas of geometry have acquired special importance in recent years on account of their lines of connection with theories of quantum physics, a discipline exploring the fundamental properties of matter and energy on the subatomic scale.

Announcement of the award and interview with the laureates © Fundación BBVA


The utility of a “source of knowledge” with “a very precise notion of what is true

Claire Voisin sees mathematics as primarily “a fact of civilization,” with a cultural value comparable to that of music: “Doing mathematics,” she affirms, “is a source of knowledge, a way of attaining knowledge that is at the root of something fundamental in human activity.” On the one hand, she says, is the fact that mathematicians “have a very precise notion of what is true, of what is known and what is not known. For us, a key point is to prove. And when something is not proved, we cannot call it a statement.” Claire Voisin also stakes a claim for mathematics as an essential mental discipline: “For me, it’s a form of concentration and I think many people today do not realize how important it is to know how to concentrate.

BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognize world-class research and cultural creation, prizing contributions of broad impact for their originality and theoretical significance. The name of the scheme is intended to encapsulate both research work that successfully enlarges the scope of our current knowledge – pushing forward the frontiers of the known world – and the meeting and overlap of disciplines. These international awards take in eight categories: Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics); Biology and Biomedicine; Climate Change; Ecology and Conservation Biology; Information and Communication Technologies; Economics, Finance and Management; Humanities and Social Sciences; Music and Opera. Established in 2008, the awards are decided annually by fully independent committees, and have secured a place among the world’s foremost award families.



Claire Voisin