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Fields Medal

The ** Fields Medal ** is a prize awarded to two, three, or four [mathematician] s not over 40 years of age at each [International Congress] of the [International Mathematical Union] , a meeting that takes place every four years. The Fields Medal is often viewed as the top honor a mathematician can receive. It comes with a monetary award, which in 2006 was [C$] 15,000 ( [US$] 15,000 or [€] 10,000). Founded at the behest of Canadian mathematician [John Charles Fields] , [Fields Institute history] the medal was first awarded in 1936, to Finnish mathematician [Lars Ahlfors] and American mathematician [Jesse Douglas] , and has been periodically awarded since 1950. Its purpose is to give recognition and support to younger mathematical researchers who have made major contributions.

** Conditions of the award **

The Fields Medal is often described as the " [Nobel Prize] of [Mathematics] " for the prestige it carries, though in most other ways the relatively new [Abel Prize] is a more direct analogue. The comparison is not entirely accurate because the Fields Medal is awarded only every four years. The Medal also has an age limit: a recipient's 40th birthday must not occur before 1 January of the year in which the Fields Medal is awarded. As a result many great mathematicians have missed it by having done their best work (or having had their work recognized) too late in life. The 40-year rule is based on Fields' desire that

… while it was in recognition of work already done, it was at the same time intended to be an encouragement for further achievement on the part of the recipients and a stimulus to renewed effort on the part of others.

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