Fields medals

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September 1998

In the film "Good Will Hunting", starring Matt Damon and Robin Williams, Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) plays a poor janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - a leading American University. Will is a self-taught mathematical protégé, discovered by Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarasgård) an established mathematician and Fields medal winner.

What exactly is a Fields medal? Fields medals are awarded by the International Mathematical Union every four years and are regarded as the most prestigious prize attainable by mathematicians worldwide, akin to the Nobel prize.

The most recent awards were announced on 18th August and two UK-based mathematicians were amongst the four people honoured. Professor Richard Borcherds and Professor Tim Gowers both work at the Department of Pure Maths and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge.

So if you're a bored cleaner you now know who you've got to impress!

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