Akshay Venkatesh, a 36 years old Delhi-born Australian mathematician, has received the highest honour of winning this year’s Fields Medal which is also known as the ‘Mathematician’s Nobel Prize’ on Wednesday. Venkatesh, also known as a child prodigy, finished his school at the age of 13 and received a Ph.D. at 20! With this prestigious award being given to two to four mathematicians every four years and this is a moment of utter pride and honour for Venkatesh and India.
Sharing his joy on the achievement of the highest honour, the Indian-Australian mathematician says “A lot of the time, when you do math, you’re stuck. But you feel privileged to work with it: you have a feeling of transcendence and feel like you’ve been part of something really meaningful.”
Adding more to his moment of pride and success, he also said, “I look for new patterns in the arithmetic of numbers. It borders on a huge number of fields of mathematics — differential equation, geometry, theory of symmetry. I have moved around the borders with other fields. It means I have been able to keep learning other things.”
Venkatesh earned his recognition for his work in Number Theory — which is a theoretical branch of mathematics dedicated to studying integers. This has applications in cryptography — writing or solving codes.
Notably, the prestigious Fields medals are awarded to the most promising mathematicians under the age of 40 at an interval of four years. Along with Akshay Venkatesh, the other three winners to beg the prestigious award are: Caucher Birkar who is a Cambridge University professor of Iranian Kurdish origin; Alessio Figalli, an Italian mathematician at ETH Zurich and Peter Scholze, who teaches at the University of Bonn in Germany.
Each of the winners receives a $C (CANADIAN DOLLAR) 15,000 r cash prize.
It was in the year 1932 when the Fields Medal was first awarded and is named after Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields.