Fields Medal

The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians under 40 years of age at the International Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), a meeting that takes place every four years.

Fields Medal
The obverse of the Fields Medal
Awarded forOutstanding contributions in mathematics attributed to young scientists
CountryVaries
Presented byInternational Mathematical Union (IMU)
Reward(s)CA$15,000
First awarded1936; 85 years ago (1936)
Last awarded2018 (2018)
WebsiteMathunion.org

The Fields Medal is regarded as one of the highest honors a mathematician can receive, and has been described as the Nobel Prize of Mathematics,[1][2][3] although there are several key differences, including frequency of award, number of awards, and age limits. According to the annual Academic Excellence Survey by ARWU, the Fields Medal is consistently regarded as the top award in the field of mathematics worldwide,[4] and in another reputation survey conducted by IREG in 2013–14, the Fields Medal came closely after the Abel Prize as the second most prestigious international award in mathematics.[5][6]

The prize comes with a monetary award which, since 2006, has been CA$15,000.[7][8] The name of the award is in honour of Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields.[9] Fields was instrumental in establishing the award, designing the medal himself, and funding the monetary component.[9]

The medal was first awarded in 1936 to Finnish mathematician Lars Ahlfors and American mathematician Jesse Douglas, and it has been awarded every four years since 1950. Its purpose is to give recognition and support to younger mathematical researchers who have made major contributions. In 2014, the Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first female Fields Medalist.[10][11][12] In all, sixty people have been awarded the Fields Medal.

The most recent group of Fields Medalists received their awards on 1 August 2018 at the opening ceremony of the IMU International Congress, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[13] The medal belonging to one of the four joint winners, Caucher Birkar, was stolen shortly after the event.[14] The ICM presented Birkar with a replacement medal a few days later.[15]