ICM 2022

The 2022 ICM is starting soon, in a virtual version organized after the cancellation of the original version supposed to be hosted in St. Petersburg (for how that happened, see here). The IMU General Assembly is now going on, moved from St. Petersburg to Helsinki. One decision already made there was that the 2026 ICM will be hosted by the US in Philadelphia. With the 2022 experience in mind, hopefully the IMU will for next time have prepared a plan for what to do in case they again end up having a host country with a collapsed democracy being run by a dangerous autocrat.

Registration for following the talks in real time has now been closed, but the talks are being recorded and will appear on the IMU Youtube channel. The program is here.

There will be quite a few other virtual events affiliated in some way with the main ICM, for a list see here. Some of these are traditional satellite conference which have been moved from their originally scheduled version in Russia. An example is this one organized by Igor Krichever, which was supposed to be held at Skoltech in Moscow, but was moved online and hosted by Columbia.

The Fields Medals will be announced at 10am local time in Helsinki on July 5, there will be a livestream here. This will be 3am here in New York, so I’ll likely be sleeping and find out what happened later in the morning. Since I just got back from vacation and it’s now a holiday weekend, I’ve been out of touch with my usual sources of math gossip and haven’t heard any informed rumors about who the medalists will be. One person who has been mentioned as a possibility is the Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska.

The last couple times (2014 and 2018) the IMU has put out the news about the Fields Medals to some of the press under unusual embargo terms that made reporting difficult for everyone except Quanta magazine which was given special access (for more about this see here). I haven’t heard anything about whether the same thing is happening this year.

Update: just noticed this, indicating that again press access may be Quanta-only.

Update: Antoine Chambert-Loir claims “serious information” that Viazovska will get the Fields Medal (at least that’s who he seems to be referring to). It looks like press access is going to more organizations than Quanta this time, see this from Nature. Terry Tao has a blog post with some more ICM information.

Update: The medalists are Duminil-Copin, Huh, Maynard and Viazovska, much the list of names that people have been speculating about. There’s much about the winners and their work at the IMU site, and several other press organizations have extensive coverage, including Quanta, Plus Magazine! and the New York Times. Stories about each of the Laureates from Plus Magazine! are featured on the IMU site.

The medalists were chosen quite a few months ago, before the Ukraine war. The interview with Viazovska contains part conducted before the war, as well as a more recent part about Russians and the war (the interviewers were Okounkov and Konyaev).

Update: Barry Mazur was awarded this year’s Chern Medal. During the ICM a new documentary about Mazur will be available for watching, Barry Mazur and The Infinite Cheese of Knowledge.

Update: I enthusiastically recommend that you take a look at Andrei Okounkov’s remarkable set of popular articles about the work of the four Fields medalists, see here, here, here and here.

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18 Responses to ICM 2022

  1. Mike says:

    I hope Viazovska gets it. Beautiful and deep work. And it would be great for women in Mathematics. And it would give a small amount of hope to young ambitious Ukrainians.

  2. Deane says:

    There was no press embargo. Press was told a few months ago. But, unlike for the Abel Prize, they weren’t supposed to interview other mathematicians.

  3. anon says:

    No embargo? So the press could report at any time? And as long as a few months ago? Really?

  4. Peter Woit says:

    anon,
    I think Deane misspoke, from what I can tell the press was told the names in advance, but not allowed to publish these til the announcement. Unclear if it is the same situation as last time, with only Quanta allowed to interview the winners and get access to other mathematicians for quotes about the work of the winners.

  5. Neville says:

    The linked remark of Antoine Chambert-Loir says “I have serious information that one woman will get it.” Maryna Viazovska may win a Fields Medal, but she is not the only possible female candidate.

  6. anon says:

    Hugo Duminil-Copin, June Huh, James Maynard, and Maryna Viazovska are the Fields medalists. I don’t think any of them is a big surprise.

  7. Hermann Vile says:

    Duminil-Copin, Huh, Maynard, Viazovska – all very reasonable choices.

  8. Deane says:

    Yes, I misspoke. The issue last time was that Quanta knew who the medialists were far in advance but the rest of the press was informed only a week or two before the ICM. There was also a mishap with the New York Times, where the notification went to the wrong person and so the person assigned to the piece had only a few days to write his article.

    This time, everybody was told months ahead of time.

    Thanks to Peter for reminding me of all this.

  9. Davide Castelvecchi says:

    I cover math prizes for Nature, and I was *not* informed in advance, neither this time nor in 2018. I am not sure if there were other outlets that got advance notice apart from Quanta.

  10. Jim Golden says:

    I thought the Quanta interviews were wonderful, especially for someone like me who’s been out of the game for a while. I sent them to some non-maths friends who also really enjoyed the profiles and personalities of the Fields Medal winners.

  11. Deane says:

    Davide Castelvecchi, I’m really sorry to hear that. You should contact Helge Holden about this. My brother Kenneth Chang writes for the New York Times, and he definitely was notified at least 3 months ago. I learned this firsthand from Helge Holden (who was on the site visit committee for the 2026 ICM).

  12. The Abbot of Nalanda says:

    The pop math articles* on the works of the various winners written by Andrei Okounknov for the IMU Fields Medal website are ridiculously good. Their quality reminds me of SciAm articles from the 1980s.

    * Called ‘Popular Science Expositions’ on the site

  13. Z Y says:

    Thanks Abbot, nice articles, it helps that the problems they worked in are relatively accesible

  14. John Baez says:

    The headline of a New York Times article announced this:

    Fields Medals in Mathematics Won by Four Under Age 40.

    A real shocker!

  15. Alas, the text begins with “the Fields Medals, which are given out once every four years to some of the most accomplished mathematicians under the age of 40.”

    The headline is not usually written by the author of the article.

  16. dh says:

    Peter, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Elliott Lieb. To an outsider like me, he looks pretty amazing, much more impressive than this Witten guy everyone’s always going on about. 😉

  17. Peter Woit says:

    dh,
    I guess this is on topic since Lieb was awarded the 2022 Gauss Prize at the ICM. I didn’t write about this because I’m not familiar in any detail with Lieb’s work. His work is within conventional old-school mathematical physics, rigorously proving results about statistical mechanical and many-body quantum systems. He has written over 400 papers, over a period of 67 years.

    Comparison to Witten is pretty silly and not on-topic, Witten’s work has been of a very different nature, with a much bigger impact on math and physics in general.

  18. dh says:

    Sorry for the poor attempt at humor.

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