Fields Medalists

The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians under 40 years of age at the International Congress of the International Mathematical Union, a meeting that takes place every four years. The name of the award honours the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields.

The following scientists, listed in alphabetical order, have participated at the Aspen Center for Physics at least once.

Michael Freedman headshot

Michael Freedman

Microsoft Research
1986 Fields Medal

“for developing new methods for topological analysis of four-manifolds. One of his results is a proof of the four-dimensional Poincaré conjecture.”

Stephen Smale, photo from Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Stephen Smale

University of California Berkeley
1966 Fields Medal

“for proving the generalized Poincaré conjecture in dimension n>=5: Every closed n-dimensional manifold homotopy-equivalent to the n-dimensional sphere is homeomorphic to it. Introduced the method of handle-bodies to solve this and related problems.”

Edward Witten

Institute for Advanced Study
1990 Fields Medal

“for demonstrating that the Jones invariant of knots could be computed as the statistical average value of an operator representing parallel transport around the knot, with the statistical weight given by a particular gauge theory action.”

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