The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Aug 19, 2010

Fields Medals 2010

Now that the four latest Fields medallists have been announced, the popular bit of the International Congress of Mathematicians is over and the technical bits begin. Desis and women have to wait a bit longer for their first Fields awardee, but the Vietnamese must be over the moon. Ngô Bảo Châu has won, while the usual Russian and French contingent has been satisfied by Stanislav Smirnov and Cédric Villani respectively. Rounding up the quartet is Elon Lindenstrauss from Israel.

The announcer of these prizes, whose name I didn't catch, quipped weakly that Villani was a real French (as opposed to Châu who works in France), and that you could tell from his last name that Smirnov is Russian (albeit based in Switzerland).

Once again the
Langlands program comes up trumps in Ngô Bảo Châu's work; Smirnov's contributions are in mathematical physics and analysis; Lindenstrauss has applied ergodic theory to classical number theory; and Villani's work is in mass transport (which, contrary to what you might imagine, has little to do with either the London Underground or imprisonment in the Andamans), an active field contributing to plasma physics.

Congratulations to all of them.


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