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.