A native of Moscow, Russia, Yakov Sinai earned his
B.S. in 1957, his Ph.D. in 1960, and his doctorate in 1963, all from Moscow State
University. He was a scientific researcher at Moscow State University for eight years
until he became a professor there in 1971. That same year, he became a senior researcher
at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics. In 1993, he became a professor of
mathematics at Princeton.

Sinai is considered the leading world authority in
the theory of dynamical systems and the mathematics of statistical physics. His work
covers areas from the ergodicity of the motion of billiards to spectral properties of
quasi-periodic Schrödinger operators.

Of his research interests, he has said "As a
mathematician, I work in three different directions: dynamical systems, probability
theory, and mathematical physics. For dynamical systems, I am involved in research of
systems with marginal properties of hyperbolicity and mixing. This class of systems
appears in many problems of chaos theory. For probability theory, I study statistical
properties of many-body systems, originated from statistical mechanics and ensembles of
random matrices. For mathematical physics, I work on problems of statistical hydrodynamics
and on some problems related to Anderson localization."

For his contributions to mathematics, he won the
Boltzmann Gold Medal in 1986, the Heineman Prize in 1989, the Markov Prize in 1990, the
Dirac Medal of the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste in 1992, and the
Wolf Prize in 1997. He is a foreign member of both the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and an honorary member of the London Mathematical
Society.