What is the current situation where the 'Fields Prize' called 'Nobel prize of mathematics' was placed and the task to the future?

The Fields Award presented to researchers who have made remarkable achievements in the field of mathematics, the first winners were announced in 1936, after which new recipients have been announced every four years. Although it was a Fields award with the aim of excluding political hues, for the purpose of honoring the person who is responsible for the future of mathematics for "principally under 40" researchers, in recent years the idea was He says he is getting thin.

The Forgotten Dream of the Fields Medal - Math with Bad Drawings

Mr. Ben Olin, who operates a blog " Math with Bad Drawings " on mathematics, published an entry about the recent Fields Awards on his blog. I interviewed Michael Ballany who is expert in science history and summarized it with illustration of Mr. Olin's handwriting.

The Fields Award is a mathematical award often mentioned as metaphorically "Nobel Prize in mathematics", and two to four winners are decided at the International Mathematicians' Conference (ICM) held once every four years I will. Its name is taken from the name of John Charles Fields , a Canadian mathematician who advocated the award. Mr. Fields had disliked that the name of the prize was decided from everything and person, including his name, but contrary to the intention that it was a proponent and that heritage was donated as a fund for the prize It was named "Fields Award".

Mr. Fields did not specify which field of mathematics to include in the subject of the award. Also, desiring to be as free as possible about the selection of winners, and most importantly, not wanting to include political elements as much as possible. Mr. Fields who thought that the concept of competition among countries surely will be brought in there if the content of the award is to evaluate past performance is a famous passage "Award is simply for past performance We must leave the word "not for the promising future, but for the future."

However, the Fields Award established under such a philosophy also shows that in recent years it has become like an "award race", and a battle seeking a status of "Fields Award Winner" has been spreading Thing. Mr. Barony said that "Mr. Fields did not establish a prize as a" Nobel prize of mathematics ", he points out that the Fields Award is out of the idea.

According to Mr. Balanie, the former Fields Award did not have the prestige as the Nobel prize. Although it was recognized as one of many prominent awards including Fields Prize "Guggenheim Incentive Fund" and the like, when the history of the mathematics of the 1940s to the 1950s was inundated, there was a distinguished existence like the Nobel Prize or the National Academies It is said that it was not.

Such a Fields award was taken up largely, and it came to be said that "the Nobel prize of mathematics" is two events that occurred in 1966, Mr. Barony said. In the 1950s, ICM (International Mathematicians' Conference), which decided winners of the Fields Award, was bothering me with narrowing down the winners. The reason was that the number of targeted mathematicians was too large, but in 1966 the winners were expanded from "two people" to "two to four people".

Also, the fact that the 1966 prize ceremony was held in Moscow of the Soviet Union also had a major impact on the Fields Awards. One of the winners was a master of American mathematician Steven Smale , but Mr. Smale was an American big point. At that time, the United States and the Soviet Union were in the midst of the cold war, and it was not an exaggeration to say that there is no exchange between the two countries at all. In such a period Mr. Smale passed to Moscow to receive the Fields award, but Mr. Smale who was acting critically against the United States at that time was summoned by the anti-American action committee.

Mr. Smale who was summoned by the government side, ignoring this summon, Mr. Smale visited Moscow and received the Fields award. At this time, in spite of the situation of the Cold War, it is said that the concept of 'Nobel prize of mathematics' was taken up largely in the media in order to attach reasons for receiving the prize across the Soviet Union.

Mr. Ballany first points out the existence of age limitation of "40 years old" concerning the problem of the current situation where such Fields award is put. For mathematicians who have continued their efforts and research on the steady rather than mathematicians who have demonstrated their talents as "genius mathematics boys", the age restriction of 40 years old is a high hurdle. In order to clear the age limit, it is necessary to list as many achievements as possible at the earliest possible stage, so there are other factors, especially the big job called "child rearing" is a burden. This is a big burden especially for female mathematicians.

The following are situations where there are a tendency for the public to see easy-to-understand results in some areas. Although it is a great accomplishment to solve problems that everyone regards as important, in the period after World War II many of the important mathematical studies are hindered by the "corporate secret" and "state secrets" It is said that there is a situation that it is difficult to be widely publicized.

As a third situation, the existence of "interdisciplinary bias" is cited. By classifying the winners of the Fields Award by college, it is understood that the winners are concentrated in top class universities such as Harvard University, Paris University, Princeton University and others. Of course, it is a subtle thing whether it should be a problem because superior mathematicians also gather at excellent research institutions, but it is noteworthy in the sense that it is necessary to expand the doors wider more widely It may be a point.

Mr. Ballany who was asked what is necessary for the future of the Fields Award said, "The committee reaffirms the philosophy at the review of the winners every four years, decides what is lacking, We should review whether we are seeking support. " Mr. Ballany also said that the committee has inherent freedom to do it and also states that there is a Fields award medal to show it.

in Note,   Science, Posted by darkhorse_log