Fields Medal 2022 Awarded to Maryna Viazovska, Former BMS Dirichlet Postdoc at HU Berlin
13 May 2022, in Berlin: Group photo with Fields Medal 2022 winner Maryna Viazovska (third from the right in the back) after the Kovalevskaya Lunch for women mathematicians and before the MATH+ Kovalevskaya Colloquium | © Photo: Vanessa Brandes
On 05 July 2022, the Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska of EPFL Lausanne was awarded a Fields Medal “for her solution of the sphere packing problem in eight dimensions, as well as further contributions to related extremal problems and interpolation problems in Fourier analysis.” Maryna Viazovska is only the second woman after Maryam Mirzakhani to win the prestigious award in its 86 years of history.
Congratulations from MATH+ to the Fields Medal 2022!
We are very proud that Maryna Viazovska had been a BMS Dirichlet Postdoctoral Fellow at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin from 2014-2016 as a member of Jürg Kramer’s arithmetic geometry research group and was part of the Berlin mathematical community. Regarding her outstanding performance and winning the Fields Medal, Jürg Kramer said: “I am very happy that Maryna Viazovska has been awarded the Fields Medal at this ICM! Her mathematical broadness allowing her to combine seemingly unrelated theories together with her persistence to solve mathematical problems made this unexpected breakthrough possible”.
Just recently, on 13 May 2022, Maryna Viazovska visited MATH+ and the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) to give the MATH+ Kovalevskaya Colloquium on “Sphere packings, universal optimality, and Fourier interpolation“. She also spoke about her experiences in mathematics at the Kovalevskaya Lunch for women mathematicians.
While a BMS Postdoc at HU Berlin, she solved sphere packing in higher dimensions, the hypersphere packing problem for dimension eight. This achievement was part of the recognition that earned her the Fields Medal. Maryna said in 2016 at the BMS that “this result became possible thanks to the BMS postdoctoral fellowship and great working conditions at the BMS and the HU.” Her research interests include number theory and optimal configurations on manifolds.
Born in Ukraine, Maryna Viazovska did her bachelor’s studies at the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University and completed her MSc at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern. She received her PhD from Universität Bonn in 2013, where she did research at the Max-Planck Institute for Mathematics. In October 2013, she became a visiting researcher at the Institute des Hautes Études Scientifiques in France before starting a BMS Dirichlet Postdoctoral Fellowship at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in 2014. After her postdoc time in Berlin, she joined Princeton University as a Minerva Distinguished Visitor in 2016, before moving to the École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne (EPFL), where she became promoted to full professor and Chair of Number Theory in 2018.
In 2016, she received the Salem Prize, in 2017, the Clay Research Award and the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for her work on sphere packing and modular forms. She has also been awarded a 2018 New Horizons Prize in Mathematics and, in 2019, the Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics and the Fermat Prize. In 2020, she was one of the EMS (European Mathematical Society) Prize winners.
The Fields Medal is the highest mathematical award and is also known as the “Nobel Prize“ in Mathematics. The medal is awarded every four years by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) to up to four people. These must be younger than 40 years of age. The medal was endowed in 1936 by Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields. In 2014, the Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani was the first woman to win the prize.