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Fields Medal

The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to up to four mathematicians (not over forty years of age) at each International Congress of International Mathematical Union, since 1936 and regularly since 1948 at the initiative of the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields. The purpose is to give recognition and support to young mathematical researchers having already made important contributions.

Year Location Winners
2002 Beijing, China Laurent Lafforgue, Vladimir Voevodsky
1998 Berlin, Germany Richard Ewen Borcherds, William Timothy Gowers, Maxim Kontsevich, Curtis T. McMullen
1994 Zürich, Switzerland Efim Isakovich Zelmanov, Pierre-Louis Lions, Jean Bourgain, Jean-Christophe Yoccoz
1990 Kyoto, Japan Vladimir Drinfeld, Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones, Shigefumi Mori, Edward Witten
1986 Berkeley, California, USA Simon Donaldson, Gerd Faltings, Michael Freedman
1982 Warsaw, Poland Alain Connes, William Thurston, Shing-Tung Yau
1978 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Pierre Deligne, Charles Fefferman, Grigory Margulis, Daniel Quillen
1974 Helsinki, Finland Enrico Bombieri, David Mumford
1970 Nice, France Alan Baker, Heisuke Hironaka, Sergei Petrovich Novikov, John Griggs Thompson
1966 Moscow, Russia Michael Francis Atiyah, Paul Joseph Cohen, Alexander Grothendieck, Stephen Smale
1962 Stockholm, Sweden Lars Hörmander, John Milnor
1958 Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom Klaus Roth, Rene Thom
1954 Amsterdam, Netherlands Kunihiko Kodaira, Jean-Pierre Serre
1950 Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA Laurent Schwartz, Atle Selberg
1936 Oslo, Norway Lars Ahlfors, Jesse Douglas

The Fields Medal is often described as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics". The comparison is not very accurate, in particular because the age limit is applied strictly. Fields Medals are awarded for a body of work, rather than for a particular result, though there is clearly consensus that some individual theorems can and should be recognised in this way. (That is not to say that some awards from the past have not been in some ways contentious or controversial—they have.) Since the institution of the Wolf Prizes, there has been a high-profile "lifetime achievement" award in mathematics; this has to some extent redressed perceived imbalances in the weight given to different kinds of merit and the movements of intellectual fashion across mathematics as a whole.

The medal is mentioned a number of times in the award winning movie Good Will Hunting staring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

See also

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