As we first described here, every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians up to four young mathematicians are given the Fields Medal. It is the most famous award in mathematics — in part because you cannot be older then 40 to win it. 2010 is an ICM year and it is going on right now in Hyderabad, India. So unless you are under 36 years old (which some of us are not), then you are out of luck. Heck, even though Andrew Wiles proved Fermat’s Last Theorem when he was only 41 he was not given a Fields Medal!
As you might imagine, there is a lot of secrecy and excitement surrounding the Fields Medal in the days before the ICM. But the wait is over, as the winners were announced a few days ago:
- Cédric Villani of the Henri Poincaré Institute in Paris
- Stanislav Smirnov of the University of Geneva
- Ngô Bao Châu of the University of Paris XI
- Elon Lindenstrauss of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
(No word on if Villani earned the “Most Dapper Mathematician” award.)
If you click on the links above you can read a bit about the winners and the math they’ve done. If you go here, then you can read a more in-depth description of their work.
We should note that a number of other very important awards are also given at the ICM. In addition, they gave out:
- Rolf Nevanlinna Prize – Daniel Spielman
- Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize – Yves Meyer
- Chern Medal – Louis Nirenberg
Indeed, just being invited as a speaker at a session of the ICM is considered a big honor!
If you’d like to read about a first person account of all the events at the ICM, then check out Timothy Gowers’s Blog. He wrote a day-by-day account of his experiences at the ICM.
Even better, you can watch the awards yourself!