Tao, 38, has been named one of five winners of the new Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, an award that provides $3 million to each of its recipients from a fund established by high-tech titans in Silicon Valley and Russia.
In 2006, he won the Fields Medal, described as the Nobel Prize of math, and also a $500,000
Born and raised in Australia, the son of a pediatrician and a former math teacher, Tao was a child prodigy. He earned his bachelor's degree at the age of 16 and finished his doctorate at
Tao said he may use some of the Breakthrough award to support open access journals or online research collaborations, according to a UCLA announcement.
In a 2006 interview with the Times, Tao said that a lot of mathematicians liken what they do to rock climbing.
"You want to get to the top of the cliff. But that's not what you focus on immediately. You focus on the next ledge just beyond your reach, because you need to do one clever thing to get up there. And then once you get there, you do it again. A lot of this is rather boring and not very glamorous. But you can't jump cliffs in a single bound."
The Breakthrough Prize in Math was established by Facebook founder