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Physicists and the Fields Medal

  1. Jun 2, 2009 #1
    For those who don't know, the Fields Medal is the most prestigious award in the worldwide mathematical community. Some mathematical physicists like myself see it as even substantially more prestigious than a Nobel prize in physics.

    It is often repeated that the string theorist Edward Witten was the first and only physicist to ever win a Fields medal (in 1994). The purpose of this thread is to discuss whether Wendelin Werner, who won the fields medal in 2006 for "contributions to the development of stochastic Loewner evolution, the geometry of two-dimensional Brownian motion, and conformal field theory" should be considered as the second physicist to have won the fields medal, and this time for work in statistical mechanics.

    One of the reasons why this is important is that the majority of students going into theoretical physics think that high energy particle/string theory is where the most sophisticated and glamorous math is being applied, a notion which is supported by Witten being 'the only physicist to have won the medal', but I would like students to know that the mathematics in statistical field theory is just as fancy, and that working in theoretical condensed matter it is still possible to dream of winning the Field's Medal.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2009 #2


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    Fascinating. I'm trying to learn some of Cardy's work - didn't know it was related to a Fields medal. Thanks!
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