Medieninformation Nr. 183e - 18. August 1998

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## Andrew J. Wiles awarded the "IMU silver plaque"

The British mathematician Andrew J. Wiles has been honoured with
the "IMU silver plaque" at 18 August. The chairman of
the Fields Medals Committee, Yuri Manin, presented him with this
award during the opening ceremony of the International Congress of Mathematicians
in the Berlin International Congress Centre. This world congress
of mathematicians, the largest and most important one worldwide,
is taking place until 25th August. Some 3500 mathematicians from
all over the world will be visiting Berlin to participate.

During the congress, which is held every four years, four Fields Medals
are awarded to outstanding mathematicians under the age of forty.
In view of their significance the Fields Medals are often dubbed
the "Nobel Prize of mathematics". Four years ago, Andrew
J. Wiles was a hot favourite for an award, since in 1993 he had
presented a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem - one of the most famous
mathematical puzzles, which had remained unsolved for more than
350 years. Shortly afterwards, however, colleagues found a gap
in the proof which Wiles was only able to close up a year later.
But this was too late for the Fields Medal, because Wiles was
then over the age limit of forty. With its special tribute, the
International Mathematics Union (IMU) wishes to acknowledge Andrew
Wiles' outstanding achievement.

**Andrew J. Wiles** (born 11 April 1953) is Professor of Mathematics
at Princeton University. Since 1995 he has also been a member
of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). Wiles studied in England
at Cambridge University before going to America as assistant professor
at Harvard in 1974. In 1982 he became professor in Princeton.
His fields of research are number theory and arithmetic geometry.

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