The Fields Medal, officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians aged under 40 by the International Mathematical Union. It has been awarded every four years since 1950.
It is often viewed as the greatest honour a mathematician can receive and has often been described as the “mathematician’s Nobel Prize”.
One of this year’s four winners is Martin Hairer (39), an Austrian citizen. His impressive career started in 2001 when he received his PhD in physics from the University of Geneva, under the direction of Jean-Pierre Eckmann. He is currently Regius Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick in the UK. The prestigious Fields award is the latest in a series of major prizes and honours he has won, which include the Whitehead Prize of the London Mathematical Society (2008), the Fermat Prize (2013), and the Frohlich Prize of the London Mathematical Society (2014).
This year’s Fields awards were also notable as the first at which a woman has been recognised with a prize. Iranian, Maryam Mirzakhani received her Ph.D in 2004 from Harvard University. She has also won many awards and is currently a professor at Stanford University in California.
The other two winners were Canadian, Manjul Bhargava who grew up primarily in the USA, and Brazilian, Artur Avila, a naturalized French citizen.