Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska on Tuesday became just the second woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal, described as the Nobel Prize in mathematics.
The 37-year-old Viazovska, received the medal during a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, along with three other mathematicians: 36-year-old Hugo Duminil-Copin of the University of Geneva, 39-year-old Korean-American June Huh of Princeton University, and 35-year-old British mathematician James Maynard of the University of Oxford.
The International Mathematical Union, which administers the Fields Medal, cited Viazovska, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, for her 2016 discovery that equal-sized spheres can be stacked symmetrically in the eighth dimension and higher. Her discovery proved a theory first proposed by German astronomer and philosopher Johannes Kepler more than 400 years ago.
The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to mathematicians under 40 years old.
The late Maryam Mirzakhani of Iran was the first woman to win the medal in 2014.
The ceremony was initially scheduled to be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia during a meeting of the International Congress of Mathematicians. But it was moved to the Finnish capital after hundreds of mathematicians signed an open letter protesting the choice of Saint Petersburg after Russia invaded Viazovska’s native Ukraine in February.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.