Home Awards & Recognition Meet The ‘Shawry For Mathematics’: Maryna Viazovska

Meet The ‘Shawry For Mathematics’: Maryna Viazovska

by Jacky Muraba

‘Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit,’ Stefan Banach, Polish Mathematician.

An award in Mathematics, I believe is no mean feat, and to be recognized globally as a Mathematician, even more respect-demanding.

Ukrainian Mathematician, Maryna Viazovska became only the second woman in the 86-year history of the Fields Medal to receive the high Mathematics honor.

The 37-year-old known for her work in sphere packing, received the award on Tuesday at Aalto University in Helinski, Finland.

Maryna first made headlines in 2016 when she discovered the most compact way possible to stack spheres: not in ordinary 3-dimension, as one would pile oranges at a market stall, but in 8-dimension. A compact dimension called E8.

Her discovery proved a theory first proposed by German astronomer and philosopher Johannes Kepler more than 400 years ago.

The International Mathematical Union, which administers the Fields Medal, cited Viazovska, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, was awarded for her 2016 discovery that equal-sized spheres can be stacked symmetrically in the eighth dimension and higher, solving the problem of sphere packing.

The winners of the Fields Medal 2022 (from left): Maryana Viazovska, James Maynard, June Huh and Hugo Duminil-Copin.

Viazovska received the 14-carat gold along with Hugo Duminil-Copin (36) of Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, June Huh (39) of Princeton University and James Maynard (38) of University of Oxford.

The Fields Medal which is likened to the Nobel Prize, is the most prestigious award in the Mathematics community.

It is awarded every four years to Mathematicians under 40 years. The recipients are normally announced at the International Congress of Mathematicians, which was originally to be held in Russia but moved to Helinski instead.

The change in location came after hundreds of mathematicians signed an open letter protesting the choice of Saint Petersburg after Russia invaded Viazovska’s native Ukraine in February.

The late Maryam Mirzakhani was the very first woman to receive the Fields Medal.

Maryam, an Iranian Mathematician studied hyperbolic functions and saw the beauty in Mathematics.

She linked Mathematics research to writing a novel: Her characters were the hyperbolic shapes that she studied, and the story was told in her research paper. This allowed her to solve complex equations that had gone unsolved in the Mathematics community.



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