India Makes History At The ICM Awards

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It is a glorious day for the Indian community at the International Congress of Mathematics (ICM). With heads held high, we rejoice the victory of yet another pioneer from India – the Field award in ICM.

Held once in every four years, the International Congress of Mathematicians is the largest congress in the community of mathematics. Operated under the ambit of International Mathematical Union (IMU), the Congress gives out the Fields Medals, the Nevanlinna Prize, the Gauss Prize, and the Chern Medal in the opening ceremony held on the first day of the nine day event.

In the 2014 Congress being held at Seoul, Korea this year round, history was made. Not only did we see two scientists of Indian origin – Manjul Bhargava and Subhash Khot – bag major awards, we also witnessed the legendary moment of the Fields Medal being awarded to a woman for the first time. Indeed in the winds of progress, we’re leading pioneers of success.

40-year-old Manjul Bhargava, a number theorist from Princeton University, is one of the four Fields Medalists chosen for the ICM 2014 awards. “Bhargava”, says the IMU citation, has been awarded the Fields Medal “for developing powerful new methods in the geometry of numbers, which he applied to count rings of small rank and to bind the average rank of elliptic curves.”

On the other hand, 36-year-old Indian Institute of Technology Bombay alumnus Subhash Khot’s “prescient definition of the ‘Unique Games’ problem,” said the award citation, “and his leadership in the effort to understand its complexity and its pivotal role in the study of efficient approximation of optimization problems, have produced breakthroughs in algorithmic design and approximation hardness, and new exciting interactions between computational complexity, analysis and geometry.”

What truly revolutionized the world of mathematicians was the award to Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian female professor of Stanford University. For the first time after 80 years of the establishment of the said award, an honour as renowned as this has been bestowed upon a woman. With great pride and vigour, women have now destroyed another symbol of male dominance and solidarity. Once again they have proved their mettle. It’s time to take notice, folks.

As the prize winners celebrate and rejoice, the Congress continues with full gusto and enthusiasm, in hope of an enriching discussion to follow.

Arushi Walecha


[Image Source: http://www.princeton.edu/main/images/news/2013/03/mathofmagic_IMG_9036_575.jpg
http://www.nsf.gov/od/waterman/images/2010_khot_waterman.jpg]