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International Congress of Mathematicians 2022 – St Petersburg

Saint Petersburg will host the next International Congress of Mathematicians, in 2022.

More informationSaint Petersburg beats Paris to win bid to host ICM 2022.

Caucher Birkar becomes first person ever to receive the Fields Medal twice

You may know from our recent foray into breaking news that the Fields Medal awarded to Caucher Birkar was stolen, minutes after it was awarded. It turns out the International Mathematical Committee (IMU) had a spare medal in Rio for display purposes, and they decided to award it to Birkar as a replacement.

Birkar is quoted as joking “I’m much more famous than I would be,” in reference to the increased media attention following the theft. Being the first person in the world to ever receive the Fields Medal twice certainly makes him a good answer to a trivia question at your next maths-themed pub quiz.

A post from the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) tries to play down the incident. ICM Chairman Marcelo Viana called it a “regretful incident with a happy ending” – slightly strange as the stolen medal hasn’t been found – and Birkar himself is quoted saying how lovely Rio is.

More information

“I’m more famous now than I would be”, jokes Birkar.

Royal Society Science Book Prize shortlist announced

The 2018 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize has announced its shortlist:

For the mathematically-minded, the highlight of the list is probably Hannah Fry’s upcoming Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine, published next month. Certainly the news has Hannah excited! An extract entitled ‘Can crime be predicted by an algorithm?‘ has been released by the publisher, Penguin.

The prize is judged by a panel of expert judges. A page about the prize says that “the winner will be announced at the award ceremony, taking place on Monday 1 October presented by Professor Brian Cox. The ceremony is open to the public and free to attend.” Though, curiously, the Royal Society website public events page has no listings for 1st October at present.

Fields Medal theft

Fields medal, pictured front and back

Have you seen this medal?

Reports are emerging of the disappearance of one of the Fields medals awarded today, to Cauchar Birkar. The official statement from the International Congress of Mathematics is reproduced below.

The organizing committee of the International Congress of Mathematics (ICM2018) profoundly regrets the disappearance of the briefcase of mathematician, Cauchar Birkar, which contained the Fields Medal he received at this morning’s ceremony.

Images recorded at the event are being analyzed. The organizing committee is cooperating with local police authorities in their investigation.

More as we get it. (Shuffles papers.)

UPDATE (morning of 2nd August): The briefcase has been found by a security team under a bench, with the medal missing. Birkar’s phone and wallet were also in the briefcase. The thief is said to have been identified from security footage, so hopefully the medal can be found.

The event was also troubled earlier in the week by an accidental fire on the roof of the building, which caused the event’s overnight team to evacuate.

World’s most prestigious maths medal is stolen minutes after professor wins it, at The Guardian

UPDATE (evening of 2nd August): The ICM have published these photos of the suspects.

UPDATE (evening of 3rd August): The ICM have announced that Birkar will receive a new medal at noon (in Rio) tomorrow.

Second place in a single-elimination tournament

Trophy for Joint 2nd Place, awarded to "???"

I made a silly joke, and it made me think.

You may be aware that our own Christian Lawson-Perfect is running the Big Internet Math-Off here at the Aperiodical, a single-elimination tournament with sixteen competitors. I was knocked out in round one by the brilliant Alison Kiddle. I joked that if Alison went on to win, then I’d be joint second.

I’ve been mulling this over and I felt there was something there in thinking about the placement of the non-winners in such a tournament, so I had a play.

Alexander Bogomolny, creator of Cut the Knot, has died.

Alexander Bogomolny was a mathematician and educator well known for his website Cut the Knot, which offered interactive mathematical miscellany and puzzles. You can learn more about him, education and antisemitism in the USSR, his mathematics research and his approach to Cut the Knot in this interview from 2014.