Archive for May 11th, 2008

Mathematician of the Week: John Charles Fields

May 11, 2008

Welcome to a new (weekly) series: the Mathematician of the Week. We’ll use this space to highlight upcoming anniversaries associated with prominent mathematicians of the present and past, and feature biographical notes on one distinguished individual.

John Charles Fields was born on May 14 1863 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. While his research area was the theory of algebraic functions, Fields is best remembered as the namesake of the Fields Medal, given quadrannually quadrennially at the International Congress of Mathematicians, and often viewed as the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Fields played a central role in ensuring the success of the 1924 ICM (held in Toronto), and in 1931 proposed the creation of an international medal to recognize significant achievement in mathematics, using funds left over from the 1924 ICM to endow the award.