Congratulations!

This year, perhaps because of a mistake, the winners of the Field Medals and the Nevanlinna prize were made public before the opening ceremony of the ICM.

Congratulations to my former colleague Maryam Mirzakhani for being the first Fields Medals winner from Iran, a nation that can certainly use some good news, and a nation that has always done well in identifying and nurturing talent in mathematics and related fields. She is also the first woman to receive this award in 78 years.

And congratulations to Subhash Khot for a very well deserved Nevanlinna prize, and one can read about his work in his own words, in my words, and about the latest impact of his work in the the words of Barak and Steurer.

The Simons foundations has excellent articles up about their work and the work of Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, and Martin Hairer, the other Fields Medal recipient. An unusual thing about Manjul Bhargava’s work is that one can actually understand the statements of some of his results.

The New York Times has a fascinating article according to which the Fields Medal got its current status because of Steve Smale and cold war paranoia. I don’t know if they are overstating their case, but it is a great story.

6 thoughts on “Congratulations!

  1. “An unusual thing about Manjul Barghava’s work is that one can actually understand the statements of some of his results.”

    That’s true; if you read the Simons profile carefully and get out a pencil and paper, you can figure out the statement of the 200-year old problem he solved.

    And yet, Yitang Zhang proved something whose statement is much simpler to understand and seems a lot more fundamental. But of course, alas, he is too old for the Fields medal.

    I am all for awards, replete with all the positive and negative aspects, but take away the age discrimination. Why do we support one form of discrimination and think that we can at the same time battle other forms?

  2. From the NYT article: “For decades the Fields Medal was relatively obscure. In 1950, neither of the two recipients had heard of the award before being told that he had won it. ”

    This is a strange statement once you realize that before 1950 the medal was awarded once, in 1936. How can an award not be obscure if it was awarded once, 14 years ago.

  3. the simons profiles by klarreich are really neat/ well written as usual & obviously were prepared long before released. kudos to simons foundation for making math more visible in mass culture. am planning on blogging on this myself but youve already found most of the great links! thx for that! also there is a lot of mass media coverage of Mirzakhani already.💡

  4. As someone else whose last name is in Bha*, I also noticed the misspelling of Manjul’s name.

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