Hang Lung Mathematics Awards (HLMA) pays tribute to Professor John H. Coates (1945-2022), a staunch supporter and advocate of HLMA, and a member of our first HLMA Scientific Committee when it was inaugurated in 2004. Thereafter, Professor Coates continued to serve on our Scientific Committee through 2010, each time traveling to Hong Kong to attend the Oral Defense and meet with our students. After his retirement from the University of Cambridge in 2012, Professor Coates traveled less to Asia, but nonetheless continued to support HLMA’s work, selflessly offering his time and guidance whenever we approached him.
Professor Coates was a Life Fellow and Emeritus Sadleirian Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. In 1985, he was elected as Fellow of The Royal Society, and the President of the London Mathematical Society (LMS) from 1988-1990. He was awarded the LMS Senior Whitehead Prize in 1997 for “his fundamental research in number theory and for his many contributions to mathematical life both in the U.K. and internationally”. He was also the first recipient of the ICCM International Cooperation Award in 2004 by the International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians (ICCM) for his devotion to help Chinese mathematicians understand modern mathematics and to promote the development of mathematics in mainland China.
The HLMA is deeply saddened to hear the news of Professor Coates’s passing. He will be remembered for his dedication to education, his generous spirit, and the immeasurable impact he had made on HLMA and on the lives of many young students who have participated in the competition over the years.