The 2022 Fields Medals for excellence in mathematics

6 July 2022

And now for something a little different… Maryna Viazovska, James Maynard, June Huh, and Hugo Duminil-Copin, have been named recipients of the 2022 Fields Medals, which recognise outstanding mathematical achievement. The Fields Medals are only awarded every four years, to mathematicians under the age of forty, by the International Congress of the International Mathematical Union.

I suck at maths, I truly do. I need a spreadsheet to reconcile my budget to buy cups of coffee. But I was impressed by the work undertaken by the 2022 recipients. Hugo Duminil-Copin was commended for “solving longstanding problems in the probabilistic theory of phase transitions in statistical physics, especially in dimensions three and four.”

That made some sense, up until the word phase.

Maryna Viazovska’s work also sounds outstanding: “for the proof that the E8 lattice provides the densest packing of identical spheres in 8 dimensions, and further contributions to related extremal problems and interpolation problems in Fourier analysis.”

No, sorry, I didn’t get a single word of that. Thankfully though there are people in the world who understand these sorts of things.