Academics & Faculty

Discover magazine names UCLA's Tao, Teran among 'brightest people alive'

Mathematics professor Terence Tao and assistant professor of mathematics Joseph Teran have been named two of the 50 "Best Brains in Science" in the December issue of Discover magazine, which lauds the UCLA faculty members as "young visionaries who are transforming the way we understand the world."

A Discover news release describes the scientists and scholars selected as "50 of the brightest people alive."
"For this special issue, the editors of Discover sought out the individuals who are making the most important contributions to American science," the magazine's introduction reads. "We conferred with leading academics and unleashed a team of crack researchers to seek out the best of the best."
Tao, who holds UCLA's James and Carol Collins Chair in the College of Letters and Science, and Teran are both included in a section highlighting 20 innovators under the age of 40, in which Tao is listed first. He is praised as "one of the most prolific and esteemed mathematicians in the nation."
Teran, an applied mathematician, was recognized for his work in using mathematical modeling to help make virtual surgery a reality.
Tao won the Fields Medal, often described as the Nobel Prize in mathematics, in 2006 at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid. In the 70 years the prize has been awarded by the International Mathematical Union, only 48 researchers have ever won it. He was named a MacArthur Fellow for 2006.
"Terence Tao is a mathematician who has developed profound insights into a host of difficult areas, including partial differential equations, harmonic analysis, combinatorics and number theory," the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation said in awarding him the fellowship. "His work is characterized by breadth and depth, technical brilliance, and profound insight, placing him as one of the outstanding mathematicians of his time."
Teran is using mathematics — including computational geometry, partial differential equations and large-scale computing — to enable surgeons to practice on a three-dimensional "digital double" of a patient before performing an actual surgery.
Discover magazine has a print circulation of more than 700,000 and an audience of nearly 7 million readers per month. Its website has 1.6 million unique visitors per month.
For more about Tao's research, visit For more on Teran's work, see
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize. For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom.
Media Contact