James is one of the leading lights in world mathematics, having made dramatic advances in analytic number theory in the years immediately following his 2013 doctorate. These advances have brought him worldwide attention in mathematics and beyond and many prizes including the European Mathematical Society Prize, the Ramanujan Prize and the Whitehead Prize. In 2017 he was appointed Research Professor in Oxford.
James paid tribute to the many people whose work laid the foundations for his own discoveries and the people who have guided him in his career, from his parents to school teachers and university supervisors. He added: "the field of analytic number theory feels revitalised and exciting at the moment with new ideas coming from many different people, and hopefully this prize might inspire younger mathematicians to continue this momentum and make new discoveries about the primes."
The Cole Prize in Number Theory recognizes a notable research work in number theory that has appeared in the last six years. The work must be published in a recognized, peer-reviewed journal.