The prestigious Abel Prize has been awarded to Professor S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan. Prof. Varadhan receives the prize "for his fundamental contributions to probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large deviation". Varadhan's theory of large deviations provides a unified method to deal with complex stochastic systems, in fields as diverse as quantum field theory, statistical physics, population dynamics, econometrics and finance, and traffic engineering. The theories has greatly expanded our ability to use computers to simulate and analyze the occurrence of rare events. A NYU professor quipped that members of the Courant Institute winning the Abel Prize for the second time in three years is an example of such a large deviation in probability. Born in India, Prof. Varadhan came to NYU in 1963 as a post-doctoral fellow.