Ukrainian, 2nd woman to win the Fields Medal and the Nobel Prize in Mathematics

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HELSINKI: Ukrainian Maryna Viazovska paid tribute on Tuesday to those suffering in her war-torn country by becoming the second woman to receive the The fields medal, known as the Nobel Prize in Mathematics. Viazovska, a 37-year-old mathematics teacher born in Kyiv, received the prestigious award alongside three other winners at a ceremony in Helsinki. “My life changed forever” when Moscow invaded Ukraine in February, she said in a video shown at the ceremony, adding that her sisters had been evacuated from Kyiv. “Right now, Ukrainians are really paying the highest price for our beliefs and our freedom,” she said.
The International Congress of Mathematicians was originally to be held in the Russian city Saint PETERSBOURG – and opened by the President Cheese fries. Hundreds of mathematicians signed an open letter protesting this choice, and after Moscow invaded Ukraine, the event was moved to the Finnish capital. Other Fields laureates were Frenchman Hugo Duminil-Copin from the University of Geneva, Britain’s James Maynard from Oxford University and June Huh from Princeton in the United States. The medal, along with $11,600, is awarded every four years to between two and four applicants under the age of 40 for “outstanding mathematical achievement.” Of the 60 mathematicians who won Fields Medals before this year, 59 were men. The only previous female winner in the prize’s more than 80-year history was an Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, who won it in 2014. “I’m sad to be only the second woman,” Viazovska said. “I hope that will change in the future.”
In a decision taken before the start of the war in Ukraine, Viazovska was rewarded for her work on packing spheres – a problem first posed by German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler nearly 400 years ago. . In what is called Kepler’s conjecture, he proposed that the most compact way to pack spheres was in a pyramid, like oranges in a supermarket. But it was such a complex problem that it was only considered correct in 1998 thanks to intense computer calculations. Then in 2016 Viazovska solved the problem in the eighth dimension, using what is called an E8 network.



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