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Fields Medal

The obverse of the 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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