Friday, 20 August 2010

The Fields Medal, alternative to Nobel in mathematics

By Syed Akbar
The Fields Medals, first awarded in 1936, is the most traditional and important international prize in the world of mathematics.
Up to four medals are awarded every four years on the occasion of the quadrennial International Congress of mathematicians (ICM) to recognize outstanding mathematical achievements for existing work and for the promise of future achievement.
To be eligible for the award, the candidate’s 40th birthday must not have occurred before January 1, of the year when the award is announced.
The Fields Medals were first proposed at the 1924 ICM in Toronto, where it was resolved that, at each subsequent Congress, two gold medals should be awarded for outstanding mathematical achievement. The Canadian mathematician J.C. Fields, who was the Secretary of the 1924 Congress, later donated funds towards these awards. Fields considered two undamental principles for the award: the solution of a difficult problem and the creation of a new theory enlarging the fields of application of mathematics.
In 1966, in view of greatly expanding mathematical research, it was decided that up to four medals could be given. The Fields Medal is made of gold and the award includes a cash prize of Canadian $15,000.
The 2010 Fields Medals winners are:
1. Elon Lindenstrauss of Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel;
2. Ngô Bảo Châu of Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France;
3. Stanislav Smirnov of Université de Genève, Switzerland; and,
4. Cédric Villani of Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris, Fran

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