The 4 winners of the Fields Medal, the most important award in mathematics

The 4 winners of the Fields Medal, the most important award in mathematics

The 4 winners of the Fields Medal

From research on prime numbers to research on eight-dimensional spheres. The Fields Medal, the highest award for research in mathematics, has just been awarded by the International Mathematical Union to four under-40s: Hugo Duminil-Copin, 36, of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, June Huh, 39 , of Princeton University, James Maynard, 35, of Oxford University and Maryna Viazovska, 37, of Lausanne Polytechnic. Viazovska is the second woman ever to earn the award.

About Fields Medals First awarded in 1936, the Fields Medals were conceived by Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields as the highest academic award for brilliant scientists early in their career. An award for the results already achieved, which are a prelude to important future discoveries. Unlike the Nobel prizes, to which they are often compared, they are awarded only every four years - a bit like Olympic medals.

The international mathematical union had communicated their choice to each winner months ago, however binding them to silence. The ceremony was supposed to be held within the International Congress of Mathematics, which was organized this year in St. Petersburg (Russia), but which, instead, will open tomorrow in Helsinki. A political choice towards the war started by Russia against Ukraine. Fields medals were awarded online.

The winners 2022 June Huh Content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

June Huh dreamed of becoming a poet and toyed with the idea of ​​science journalism. You seem to be not that brilliant in mathematics, but in the final year of college she attended the course in algebraic geometry held by the Japanese Fields medalist in 1970 Heisuke Hironaka. The intent was to get to know Hironaka and interview him, as he is considered a "superstar" in East Asia, but the meeting took a different turn and Huh found himself after graduation working with the Japanese mathematician and applying for a dozen universities in the United States to pursue a PhD. It was not an easy task to get accepted, but once he entered the University of Illinois he stood out in the field of combinatorics, an area of ​​mathematics that calculates how many ways elements can combine, focusing on the study of chromatic polynomials and theory. by Hodge.

Maryna Viazovska Content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

Of Ukrainian origin, 37-year-old Maryna Viazovska works at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and she distinguished herself for her studies on the problem of "packing spheres", ie the mathematical demonstration of putting a series of round objects inside a box. Kepler, speaking of stacking cannonballs, claimed that the pyramid structure was the way in which the greatest density was achieved by filling just over 75% of the available space, but he had not been able to prove it. The first demonstration came in 1998 by Thomas Hales, but the challenge was to do it with equal spheres in dimensions greater than three and Viazovska succeeded. in 2016. "A problem solved with 8-dimensional spheres and which has important repercussions also in cryptography", explained to Ansa Roberto Natalini, director of the Institute for Calculation Applications "M. Picone" of the National Research Council ( Iac Cnr) and coordinator of the mathematics dissemination site 'MaddMaths!'. Viazovska is the second woman ever to receive the award, after Maryam Mirzakhani in 2014.

James Maynard Content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

Thirty-five years old, working at the University of Oxford. The International Mathematical Union awarded him the Fields Medal "for contributions to analytic number theory, which have led to important advances in understanding the structure of prime numbers and Diophantine approximation". Prime numbers are integers that are divisible only by 1 and by themselves: 2, 3, 5 are prime numbers, and so on to infinity. Maynard - reports the News York Times - considers them “absolutely fascinating”, among the most elementary and fundamental objects of mathematics, but at the same time mysterious and little understood. In fact, there are still unsolved problems on prime numbers, on which Maynard worked by improving tools already in use by mathematicians to trace primes and by demonstrating that there is an infinite number of prime numbers that do not contain, for example, the digit 7. "Also if it sounds like a curiosity, the key point is that [the proof] has overcome various kinds of mathematical technical obstacles to the study of prime numbers, "explained Maynard. \

Hugo Duminil-Copin Content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

One of the Fields 2022 medals ends in Paris. Here works Hugo Duminil-Copin, who wins recognition for solving "long-standing problems in the probabilistic theory of phase transitions in statistical physics, especially in dimensions three and four". Duminil-Copin, divided between a love of mathematics and that of physics, is appreciated for the study of the phase transition in a three-dimensional and four-dimensional model of magnetism. Under these conditions, says Duminil-Copin, "no one has any idea how to calculate things exactly", but the scientist has shown that the curve describing the magnetization of materials (from non-magnetic to magnetic upon reaching the critical temperature) is continuous, just like in the two dimensions.

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