Fields Medal facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The Fields Medal is a prize given to two, three, or four people who study math who are not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union, a meeting that takes place every four years.

The Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields was the first to propose this medal and it was first awarded in 1936. It has been regularly awarded since 1950. Its purpose is to give recognition and support to younger mathematical researchers who have made major contributions.

Standing of the award

The Fields Medal is viewed, at least in the media, as the top honor a mathematician can receive. It comes with a monetary award, which in 2006 was C$15,000 (US$13,400 or 10,550).

Conditions of the award

Because of its prestige, the Fields Medal is often described as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics,", but the comparison is not so good. First, it is awarded not only to recognize the valuable contributions of a mathematician but also to encourage him or her to continue his work. The Fields Medals have generally been awarded for a mathematician's whole work, rather than for a particular result.

Another difference is that the Fields Medal is awarded every four years, and its recipients cannot be over the age of 40. Also, the money awarded with the medal is much lower than the US$1.3 million given with each Nobel prize.

Fields Medalists

  • 2014:
  • 2010:
  • 2006: Andrei Okounkov (Russia), Grigori Perelman (Russia) (declined award), Terence Tao (Australia), Wendelin Werner (France)
  • 2002: Laurent Lafforgue (France), Vladimir Voevodsky (Russia)
  • 1998: Richard Ewen Borcherds (UK), William Timothy Gowers (UK), Maxim Kontsevich (Russia), Curtis T. McMullen (U.S.)
  • 1994: Efim Isakovich Zelmanov (Russia), Pierre-Louis Lions (France), Jean Bourgain (Belgium), Jean-Christophe Yoccoz (France)
  • 1990: Vladimir Drinfeld (USSR), Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones (New Zealand), Shigefumi Mori (Japan), Edward Witten (U.S.)
  • 1986: Simon Donaldson (UK), Gerd Faltings (West Germany), Michael Freedman (U.S.)
  • 1982: Alain Connes (France), William Thurston (U.S.), Shing-Tung Yau (China)
  • 1978: Pierre Deligne (Belgium), Charles Fefferman (U.S.), Grigory Margulis (USSR), Daniel Quillen (U.S.)
  • 1974: Enrico Bombieri (Italy), David Mumford (U.S.)
  • 1970: Alan Baker (UK), Heisuke Hironaka (Japan), Sergei Petrovich Novikov (USSR), John Griggs Thompson (U.S.)
  • 1966: Michael Atiyah (UK), Paul Joseph Cohen (U.S.), Alexander Grothendieck (France), Stephen Smale (U.S.)
  • 1962: Lars Hörmander (Sweden), John Milnor (U.S.)
  • 1958: Klaus Roth (UK), René Thom (France)
  • 1954: Kunihiko Kodaira (Japan), Jean-Pierre Serre (France)
  • 1950: Laurent Schwartz (France), Atle Selberg (Norway)
  • 1936: Lars Ahlfors (Finland), Jesse Douglas (U.S.)


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Fields Medal Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.