The prize was awarded at a recent ceremony held in San Diego, California. The prize citation noted Bhargava's "revolutionary work on higher composition laws", which introduced completely new and unexpected ideas into a subject that began with work of Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1801.
"[Bhargava's] techniques and insights ... are dazzling; even in the case considered by Gauss, they lead to a new and clearer presentation of that theory," the prize citation said.
It added, "If Bhargava had stopped with this discovery, his work would already be quite remarkable. But Bhargava has gone on to use his composition laws to solve a new case of one of the fundamental questions of number theory that of asymptotic enumeration of number fields of given degree, as the discriminant grows ... Bhargava used his new composition laws to solve the degree 4 case, brilliantly overcoming very serious analytic problems that had completely blocked all previous work on the problem." Bhargava, who is 32, is the youngest recipient of the honour, which carries a cash prize of 5,000 dollars, in more than half a century.
Bhargava was born in Ontario, Canada. But he spent most of his early years on Long Island, near New York. He earned a degree in the subject from Harvard in 1996 and his doctorate from Princeton University, where he is currently associated with since 2003.