Yau, Shing-Tung, National Medal of Science, 1997
Description of the "Unification of Mathematics and Physics"
"Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist of the 20th century and maybe of
all time, had an unshakable belief that the physical universe was governed by a 'unified theory'--a theory founded on one overarching idea or equation capable of explaining all there is, has been, or ever will be...in recent decades great strides toward its realization have been taken...these advance have revealed remarkable links with various areas of mathematics that have been developed with little or no motivation for application to physics. Einstein's dream of physical unity may well be only a small part of a grander synthesis encompassing all of mathematics as well.
"These developments strongly suggest that as we stand on the shores of
a new millennium, we may well be witnessing the birth of not only a
unified theory of the physical universe, but also a unification with some of the deepest developments in mathematics as well."