By James Gant For Mailonline
Published: 10:19 BST, 11 September 2020 | Updated: 10:19 BST, 11 September 2020
A maths genius has won a £2.3million prize from Mark Zuckerberg's foundation for working out the complex equations that result from stirring a cup of tea.
Martin Hairer, 44, from Imperial College London, hit the jackpot as winner of the 2021 Breakthrough prize for mathematics.
The Austrian-British researcher, who lives in London with his mathematician wife Xue-Mei Li, had been working on stochastic analysis.
The field, based on Ito's calculus, saw him delve into how random effects turn the maths of things such as stirring a cup of tea or the growth of a forest fire.
He created a complicated 180-page treatise on the idea of 'regularity structures', which left rivals stunned and saw one say he must have got it from intelligent aliens.
Mr Hairer got the results for the 2021 Breakthrough prize for mathematics - created by Zuckerberg and Israeli-Russian investor Yuri Milner - on Skype during lockdown.
Martin Hairer (pictured in 2014), 44, from Imperial College London, hit the jackpot as winner of the 2021 Breakthrough