Outstanding Science Alumni Awards 2005
LAM Lay Yong
BA 1957, PhD 1966
Professor, Department of Mathematics, NUS (1988--96)
Kenneth O. May Medal 2001
LAM Lay Yong's association with NUS goes back to the University of Malaya, Singapore, where she graduated with First Class Honours degree in mathematics in 1957. She was awarded a Queen's scholarship to pursue her studies at Cambridge University. She returned to her alma mater as a mathematics lecturer, started researching on the history of Chinese mathematics and obtained her PhD from the University of Singapore in 1966. She was promoted Professor in 1988 and retired from NUS in 1996.
In recognition of her extensive publications on the history of Chinese mathematics, Dr LAM was awarded the Kenneth O. May medal in 2001, the highest honour given by the International Commission on the History of Mathematics once every four years. Dr LAM was not only the first Asian but also the first woman to win it. As a benchmark of intellectual peaks, this prize shares company with the Fields Medal and the Nevanlinna Prize, respectively, the highest award for achievement in mathematics and theoretical computer science. The two latter awards are presented by the International Mathematical Union (IMU), a body whose intended obscurity is sometimes disturbed by the fame of such numbers-magicians as Stephen Hawking and John (A Beautiful Mind) Nash.
"Passion, conviction and perseverance are ingredients for a successful research project. They will ultimately triumph over all impediments no matter how formidable."