She won the award—which includes a $700,000 check—for her significant work in two major mathematical concepts: gauge theory and geometric analysis. The former deals with how various forces and particles can behave within Einstein's theory of special relativity, which handles the relationship between space and time: The laws of physics are the same for all non-accelerating systems and the speed of light in a vacuum is the same regardless of the light source. The latter, geometric analysis, attempts to predict how three-dimensional shapes will behave. For example, Uhlenbeck found if you blow a soap bubble, the shape will adjust such that it conserves its own surface area to make itself as stable as possible. In doing so, she helped determine how we predict three-dimensional structures of various substances and elements.