I was very happy to receive an email yesterday announcing that the Fields Institute has established a symposium to honor the Fields Medalists. Please find the text of the announcement I received posted below:



The Fields Institute is delighted to announce the establishment of the Fields Medal Symposium. The Symposium will take place annually in Toronto at the Institute, celebrating the achievements of one of the recently announced Fields Medalists. The Fields Medal Symposium will be a three-day event featuring an address or a series of lectures for a general scientific audience by the Medalist, as well as lectures and panel discussion by other invited participants on themes related to the Medalist’s work. The Symposium is intended also as an inspiration to young people, and will include public activity with the participation of high-school or undergraduate students. The Symposium will be promoted in the Canadian and international press, and will be broadcast live throughout the world via the Fields Institute’s interactive videoconferencing facilities.

The Fields Medal Symposium is endorsed by the International Mathematical Union. It will be inaugurated in October 2012, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Fields Institute. The first Medalist honoured in this way will be Ngo Bao Chau (University of Chicago, Fields Medal 2010). The program for the first Symposium will be organized by a Committee consisting of Jim Arthur (University of Toronto, Chair), Bill Casselman (University of British Columbia), Edward Frenkel (Berkeley) and Gerard Laumon (Orsay).

The Fields Medal is the world’s most prestigious prize in mathematics. It is awarded by the International Mathematical Union every four years, to two to four mathematicians (recently four). The Fields Medal, first awarded in 1936, and the Fields Institute are both named after John Charles Fields (1863–1932), who was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and was a faculty member at the University of Toronto. Fields took a strong interest in the global world of Mathematics, and endowed the Medal in order to create an award comparable to a Nobel Prize. (There is no Nobel Prize for Mathematics.) The awards, however, have an interesting difference. The Nobel Prize is usually awarded to mature scientists to crown their careers. The Fields Medal, on the other hand, is awarded to researchers at most forty years old. It is intended not only to crown pioneering achievements but also to encourage further visionary work.

The Fields Medalist honoured on the occasion of the Symposium will receive an honorarium of $25,000. The Fields Institute has been successful in raising private sponsorship support of the Fields Medal Symposium for aneinitial eight-year period. This funding will cover the honorarium, as well as promotion of the event and the Medalist’s expenses. The Institute will provide the venue for the Symposium and cover the expenses of other invited Symposium participants from its scientific budget. The initial eight-year sponsorship will enable the Symposium to become established and attract continued funding to build an endowment.

The annual Fields Medal Symposium will be one of the highest profile events in the global mathematics community. The Fields Institute is extremely grateful to the sponsors whose generous support has made the initiative possible. Following are the current private sponsors of the Symposium. The Institute is actively pursuing corporate sponsorships. The Institute welcomes further support of the Fields Medal Symposium, at any level, as well as any other inquiries about the program. More information about the Fields Institute can be found at http://www.fields.utoronto.ca .

Sponsors of the Fields Medal Symposium

Silver Level $100,000–199,000

  • James Stewart, Prof. Emeritus, McMaster University, text book author, donor of the Fields Institute Library

Bronze Level $25,000–99,000

  • Edward Bierstone, Fields Institute and the University of Toronto
  • George Elliott, University of Toronto and the Fields Institute
  • John R. Gardner
  • Philip Siller, BroadRiver Asset Management, L.P.