I learnt about the Fields Medallist, Caucher Birkar, from a comment in BP. To make it even sweeter it so happens Mr. Birkar is from Cambridge so it’s a big win for our fair city in the ongoing competition with the States. Cambridge as a rule of thumb is the best STEM University this side of the Atlantic but MIT & Stanford make a good run for it’s money on a world-wide basis.
At any I immediately went into Internet Iranian mode and pronounced Mr. Birkar as the Second Iranian to win this in a row.. In my rush to proclaim a victory for Iranian I didn’t realise I was technically correct since the Fields Medal is every 4years and he follows into the footsteps of the late & great Maryam Mirzakhani. To my mind Mr. Birkar is British Iranian since Kurdistan is not a nation and even if it were it is still a part of Greater Iranian; as the children of Medians, Kurdish and Azeri identities, are simply subsets of Great Iran.
Vidhi noted that Mr. Venkatesh won the award too (it’s given every 4 years to 4 mathematicians under 40).
Interestingly enough he’s being described as an Aussie Prodigy even though he’s probably a TamBram of some sort (born in Delhi). Immigration doesn’t seem to be working out so badly for Australia:
Professor Venkatesh is just the second Australian to receive the Fields Medal. Dr Terence Tao won the award in 2006.
Comedian and mathematics communicator Adam Spencer said it was a “great day for Australian mathematics” and the crown in a string of recent achievements from Australian mathematicians.
“Australian mathematics is on a real roll here,” Spencer said.
“First mathematician Geordie Williamson from the University of Sydney was admitted to the Royal Society, making him the youngest member.
“Then Nalini Joshi, also from the University of Sydney was named vice-president of the International Mathematical Union.
In 2016, when Professor Venkatesh was awarded another prestigious prize, he said doing mathematics gave him a feeling of “transcendence”.
“You feel like you’ve been part of something really meaningful,” he said at the time.
Now a husband and father of two, he said children were a great way to force him to stop obsessing about mathematical problems.
Those children are the joy of his life, his mother said.
“He is a terrific father, a wonderful father. And yes, they are the joy of his life. They are the absolute joys of my life, too,” she added.
Tao, Venkatesh and Joshi don’t sound like Anglo-Celtic names.. But thankfully we have a “mathematics communicator” to break it down for us (ouch I was being a tad waspish there; I apologise).
Finally speaking of children:
But for his mum, who is immensely proud of him, she just wants him to be happy.
“That is all I hope for him, that he is happy and he loves what he does,” said Svetha Venkatesh, who is herself a professor of computer science at Deakin University, and a leader in the field of machine learning.
Professor Venkatesh, who teaches at Stanford University in the US, is being honoured for work that combines insights from several different fields of mathematics.
Vidhi happens to be in Machine Learning and of South Indian extraction (Chennai born & bred) so if she had a child..