The Fields Medals, which are awarded every four years at the International Congress of Mathematics (ICM) to scientists under the age of forty for outstanding mathematical achievements, were awarded this year to Maryna Viazovska (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne - EPFL), James Maynard (University of Oxford), Hugo Duminil-Copin (University of Geneva) and June Huh (Princeton University).
Maryna Viazovska is the second female recipient of this prestigious award after the late Maryam Mirzakhani, who received the Medal in 2014. Last year, Viazovska also received the EMS Prize 2020 at the 8th European Congress of Mathematics, organized by the University of Primorska under the auspices of the European Mathematical Society (EMS).
Upon receiving the award, in her interview with Andrei Okounkov and Andrei Konyaev, she also spoke about the question of whether mathematicians will be replaced by computers in the future: »I am still of the opinion that a computer is a tool. Meaning that computers don't get in the way of people — it's people who get in the way of themselves by using this tool. If you give a man a saw, he can cut firewood quickly, or he can cut off his own finger. If he saws off his finger, it's not the saw’s fault. The same thing applies to artificial intelligence. On the one hand, it certainly holds a variety of possibilities for mathematics and can complete many tasks which we would not be able to complete ourselves. The value of mathematics, on the other hand, is in being able to understand what's going on. To give meaningful tasks to the artificial intelligence and understand the answers. It's not like the computer will somehow think for me. Some people may be fascinated by the illusion of computer thinking, but it's just a tool.« She also shared her thoughts on the breaking point of receiving such a prestigious award, which has so far belonged to 64 mathematicians: »What am I going to do for the rest of my life? I'm just beginning to live, but I have already reached the highest point. I didn't like the idea of that at all. Then, of course, I also thought about how this imposes a great amount of responsibility on a person. It took me a few days to realize it all.«
James Maynard and Hugo Duminil-Copin have also already received the EMS prize, namely in 2016, at the 7th European Congress of Mathematics in Berlin.
We sincerely congratulate all the Medallists!