|Awarded for||Outstanding contributions in mathematics attributed to young scientists|
|Presented by||International Mathematical Union|
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 (IMU), a meeting that takes place every four years. The name of the award honours the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields.
The Fields Medal is regarded as one of the highest honors a mathematician can receive, and has been described as the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, although there are several major differences, including frequency of award, number of awards, age limits, monetary value, and award criteria. According to the annual Academic Excellence Survey by ARWU, the Fields Medal is consistently regarded as the top award in the field of mathematics worldwide, and in another reputation survey conducted by IREG in 2013–14, the Fields Medal came closely after the Abel Prize as the second most prestigious international award in mathematics.
The prize includes a monetary award which, since 2006, has been CA$15,000. Fields was instrumental in establishing the award, designing the medal himself, and funding the monetary component, though he died before it was established and his plan was overseen by John Lighton Synge.
The medal was first awarded in 1936 to Finnish mathematician Lars Ahlfors and American mathematician Jesse Douglas, and it has been awarded every four years since 1950. Its purpose is to give recognition and support to younger mathematical researchers who have made major contributions. In 2014, the Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first female Fields Medalist. In total, 64 people have been awarded the Fields Medal.
The most recent group of Fields Medalists received their awards on 5 July 2022 in an online event which was live-streamed from Helsinki, Finland. It was originally meant to be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but was moved following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.