The Fields Medal, given to winners of the award

Minutes after being presented with the most prestigious award in mathematics, Cambridge professor Caucher Birkar had his award stolen at the International Congress of Mathematics (ICM) in Rio de Janeiro.

According to O Globo newspaper, the thief has already been identified from security footage. Both Birkar’s 14-carat gold medal and his wallet were stolen from a folder on a table left in the pavilion at Riocentro, a convention centre on the western edge of the city.

The Fields Medal, often called the ‘Nobel Prize in Mathematics’, is awarded once every four years, to up to four eminent mathematicians. Recipients of the medal are also given £8,750 for their contributions to the field of mathematics.


Mountain View

Cambridge mathematician awarded 2018 Fields Medal

Caucher received the award today in recognition of his work in algebraic geometry, which was a largely understudied field when Caucher began his research at the University of Nottingham.

Caucher received his undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Tehran, before seeking asylum in the UK as a Kurdish refugee in 2000.

In his remarks at the ICM upon receiving the award, Caucher said: “war-ridden Kurdistan was an unlikely place for a kid to develop an interest in mathematics”, adding, “I'm hoping that this news will put a smile on the faces of those 40 million people.”

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