Oded studied at the Hebrew University under Gil Kalai, which led to his two early papers on sets of constant width, and at Princeton under Bill Thurston. His 1990 Ph.D. thesis was titled “Packing two dimensional bodies with prescribed combinatorics and applications to the construction of conformal and quasiconformal mappings”. After a postdoc at UCSD, Oded worked at the Weizmann Institute and since 1999, at Microsoft Research. He received the Erdős Prize in Mathematics in 1996, the Salem Prize in 2001, the Clay Research Award in 2002, the Poincaré Prize in 2003, the Loève Prize in 2003, the Pólya Prize in 2006 and the Ostrowski Prize in 2007. He was elected as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2008.

Oded gave many distinguished lectures, including plenary addresses in the 2004 European Congress of Mathematics and the 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians, as well as the 2005 Coxeter Lecture Series at the Fields Institute and the 2006 Abel lecture, and was due to give the Gibbs Lecture in 2009.

On the Microsoft theory group webpage, Oded listed his interests: Percolation, two dimensional random systems, critical systems, SLE, conformal mappings, dynamical random systems, discrete and coarse geometry, mountains.

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I first met Oded in a class on Differential Topology at the Hebrew University. It was the first class I attended at the Hebrew U., and I was a bit daunted by all that I had heard about the high level of the students and faculty there.

The teacher made a comment that I didn’t quite understand, and after class I picked a “random” student to ask for clarification. The student was extremely friendly and gave me a beautiful answer that left me reeling. I was ready to throw in the towel: if any random student could provide such an answer, then this place was really not for me.

Later I learned that I had happened to ask my question of Oded Schramm–not just any student, after all. I felt much better and continued my studies.