HELSINKI: Ukraine’s Maryna Viazovska paid tribute to those suffering in her war-torn country on Tuesday when she became the second woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, known as the Nobel prize for mathematics.
Viazovska, a 37-year-old maths professor, received the prestigious award alongside three other winners at a ceremony in Helsinki.
“I am from Kyiv, Ukraine, and in February my life changed forever” when Moscow invaded, she said in a video displayed at the ceremony.
“Not only for me but for everyone in the world and especially the people in my country,” she said, adding that her two sisters had been evacuated from Kyiv.
“Right now Ukrainians are really paying the highest price for our beliefs and our freedom.” The International Congress of Mathematicians, the event where the prize is awarded, was initially scheduled to be held in Russia’s second city, Saint Petersburg, and opened by President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier in the year hundreds of mathematicians signed an open letter protesting at the choice of the host city, and after Moscow invaded Ukraine the event was moved to the Finnish capital.
The other Fields winners were France’s Hugo Duminil-Copin of the University of Geneva, Britain’s James Maynard of Oxford University and June Huh of Princeton in the United States.
The medal, along with $15,000 Canadian dollars ($11,600), is awarded every four years to between two to four candidates under the age of 40 for “outstanding mathematical achievement”.
Viazovska was born in 1984 in Ukraine and has been chair of number theory at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne since 2018.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022