First of all, let me join the chorus of congratulations for Shlomo Hoory, Nati Linial and Avi Wigderson, who have been awarded the Levi L. Conant Prize for the best expository article in the Notices or the Bulletin of the AMS in the last 5 years. They received this prize, which is a great recognition for TCS research within the mathematical community, for their article Expander graphs and their applications in the Bulletin of the AMS.
As Nati Linial says in his response for the prize
I believe that the full potential impact of combinatorics on the rest of mathematics is only starting to reveal itself and the study of expander graphs can give us some idea of the true power of these connections.
Combinatorial research is also honoured with the Leroy Steele Prize for seminal contribution to research going to Endre Szemeredi for the paper On sets of integers containing no k elements in arithmetic progression, Acta Arithmetica XXVII (1975), 199–245. I love these words in Szemeredi's response:
Calling his theorem a "fairly strong result" is really faint praise, but I like the fact that Szemeredi points out that a result becomes a seminal contribution to research when it used by other researchers to obtain fruits that were considered beforehand too high on the tree of knowledge to be picked.
This award could not have occurred were it not for the fundamental work of
other mathematicians who developed the field of additive combinatorics and
established its relations with many other areas. Without them my theorem is only
a fairly strong result, but no “seminal contribution to research”.
The prize booklet makes for some interesting reading. Wearing my Italian expatriate's glasses, I note in particular the two awards to Italian mathematicians (Alberto Bressan and Enrico Bombieri) , both of whom work in the US.
I look forward to seeing who will be the recipient of the EATCS award for 2008.