A seasoned ICM veteran, German mathematics journalist Joachim Heinze, holding a small notepad with predictions for tomorrow’s Fields medallists, exudes enthusiasm and excitement.
Having just turned 70, he has now attended 11 ICMs and seen 40 mathematicians take home the Fields Medal. In the last few ICMs, Heinze has enjoyed seeing increased participation of female mathematicians, culminating in the first ever award of a Fields Medal to a woman four years ago, when recently deceased Maryam Mirzakhani was awarded the coveted math medal.
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Sporting a red and black Flamengo cap and a combination of socks and sandals, he recounts his first trip to an ICM conference, in 1978 in Helsinki. “That was a golden time, I had just finished my Ph.D. and got travel money from my university. I had to pay half of it and give a lecture.”
“It is very rare that two Fields medalists come from the same country,” Heinze ponders. His expert prediction is that tomorrow, this will change for either Germany, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Iran, Vietnam or China. “It’s good fun, but many mathematicians would have deserved the Fields Medal.”