An Iranian Mathematician Wins Fields Medal

Friday, August 3, 2018 - 19:08

A Kurdish Iranian Caucher Birkar has been one of four joint recipients of the Fields Medal, which is awarded every four years to the youngest and brightest stars in mathematics.

Caucher Birkar received Fields Medal, often dubbed the "Nobel Prize of Mathematics", at the International Congress of Mathematics on Wednesday. The medal, considered the world's most prestigious maths prize, was awarded in Rio de Janeiro.

While studying at Tehran University, Dr. Birkar would look up at pictures of Fields Medal winners on the walls of his math club, he told Quanta magazine in an interview. “I looked at them and said to myself, ‘Will I ever meet one of these people?”

Dr. Birkar won the award for his work on categorizing different kinds of polynomial equations, revealing that seemingly unrelated algebraic equations share something in common and can be classified into a smaller number of groups.

Dr. Birkar is Cambridge University’s 11th Fields medalist.

“This is absolutely phenomenal, both for Caucher and for mathematics at Cambridge,” said Professor Gabriel Paternain, head of the university’s department of pure mathematics and mathematical statistics.

“Caucher was already an exceptional young researcher when he came to Cambridge, and he’s now one of the most remarkable people in this field.”

The other three winners of the 2018 Fields Medal are Alessio Figalli, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich; Peter Scholze from the University of Bonn; and Akshay Venkatesh, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Stanford University in California.

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