Artur Avila wins the Fields Medal

The 35-year-old carioca is the first Latin American winner of the Fields Medal.

The news coming from ICM 2014 could not have been more auspicious for the 2018 edition. Artur Avila, a 35-year-old native of Rio de Janeiro, the next host city, has become the first Latin American winner of the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, better known as the Fields Medal.

Artur is a Directeur de Recherche for CNRS, France, at Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieuin Paris. He is also an Extraordinary Professor at IMPA in Rio de Janeiro, where he obtained his Masters and Doctoral degrees. His Fields citation highlights "his profound contributions to dynamical systems theory, which have changed the face of the field, using the powerful idea of renormalization as a unifying principle."

- The Medal is an individual prize for Artur, but it also reflects the general direction of mathematical research in Brazil, according to says César Camacho, director of IMPA.

"Dynamical Systems is an area where Brazil has played a leading role for several decades," adds Marcelo Viana, president of the Sociedade Brasileira de Matemática (SBM) and a collaborator of Artur's. "His amazing achievements are the high point of a history that was already quite successful. In a year of important 'firsts,' we would do well to remember that progress requires long-term efforts as well as outstanding individuals," added Viana, also referring to Maryam Mirzhakani (Stanford), both the first woman and the first Iranian to win the Fields Medal.

On his part, Artur has expressed "relief" over the Medal.

"For several years there were hopes that I would win the Medal. I felt somewhat under pressure, especially because I knew this would be something important for Brazil, which, oddly enough, has never won a major international scientific award at this level. Those expectations weighed heavily on me, and my first reaction to the Medal was a sense of relief."

Besides Artur and Maryam, the other 2014 Fields Medal winners were Martin Hairer (Warwick) and Manjul Bhargava (Princeton). The other 2014 IMU prize awardees are SubhashKhot (Courant Inst., NYU - Nevanlinna Prize), Stanley Osher (UCLA - Gauss Prize), Phillip Griffiths (IAS - Chern Medal) and Adrián Paenza (Buenos Aires - Leelavati Prize). More information about prize winners can be found at