From Academic Kids
The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to up to four mathematicians (not over forty years of age) at each International Congress of International Mathematical Union, since 1936 and regularly since 1948 at the initiative of the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields. The purpose is to give recognition and support to young mathematical researchers having already made important contributions.
|2002||Beijing, China || Laurent Lafforgue (France), Vladimir Voevodsky (US)|
|1998||Berlin, Germany || Richard Ewen Borcherds (GB), William Timothy Gowers (GB), Maxim Kontsevich (Russia), Curtis T. McMullen (US) |
|1994||Zürich, Switzerland || Efim Isakovich Zelmanov (Russia), Pierre-Louis Lions (France), Jean Bourgain (Belgium), Jean-Christophe Yoccoz (France) |
| 1990 || Kyoto, Japan || Vladimir Drinfeld (USSR), Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones (New-Zeland), Shigefumi Mori (Japan), Edward Witten (US)|
| 1986 ||Berkeley, California, USA || Simon Donaldson (GB), Gerd Faltings (West Germany), Michael Freedman (US) |
| 1982 || Warsaw, Poland || Alain Connes (France) , William Thurston (US), Shing-Tung Yau (US) |
| 1978 ||Helsinki, Finland || Pierre Deligne (Belgium), Charles Fefferman (US), Grigory Margulis (USSR), Daniel Quillen (US) |
| 1974 || Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada || Enrico Bombieri (Italy), David Mumford (US) |
| 1970 || Nice, France || Alan Baker (GB), Heisuke Hironaka (Japan), Sergei Petrovich Novikov (USSR), John Griggs Thompson (GB) |
| 1966 || Moscow, Russia || Michael Francis Atiyah (GB), Paul Joseph Cohen (US), Alexander Grothendieck (France), Stephen Smale (US) |
| 1962 || Stockholm, Sweden || Lars Hörmander (Sweden), John Milnor (US) |
| 1958 || Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom || Klaus Roth (GB), Rene Thom (France) |
| 1954 || Amsterdam, Netherlands || Kunihiko Kodaira (Japan), Jean-Pierre Serre (France) |
| 1950 || Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA || Laurent Schwartz (France), Atle Selberg (Norway)
| 1936 || Oslo, Norway || Lars Ahlfors (Finland), Jesse Douglas (US)
The Fields Medal is often described as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics". The comparison is not very accurate, in particular because the age limit is applied strictly. Fields Medals are awarded for a body of work, rather than for a particular result, though there is clearly consensus that some individual theorems can and should be recognised in this way. (That is not to say that some awards from the past have not been in some ways contentious or controversial—they have.) Since the institution of the Wolf Prizes, there has been a high-profile "lifetime achievement" award in mathematics; this has to some extent redressed perceived imbalances in the weight given to different kinds of merit and the movements of intellectual fashion across mathematics as a whole.
The medal is mentioned a number of times in the award winning movie Good Will Hunting staring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.