About the title

About the title

I changed the title of the blog on March 20, 2013 (it used to have the title “Notes of an owl”). This was my immediate reaction to the fact the T. Gowers was presenting to the public the works of P. Deligne on the occasion of the award of the Abel prize to Deligne in 2013 (by his own admission, T. Gowers is not qualified to do this).

The issue at hand is not just the lack of qualification; the real issue is that the award to P. Deligne is, unfortunately, the best compensation to the mathematical community for the 2012 award of Abel prize to Szemer├ędi. I predicted Deligne before the announcement on these grounds alone. I would prefer if the prize to P. Deligne would be awarded out of pure appreciation of his work.

I believe that mathematicians urgently need to stop the growth of Gowers's influence, and, first of all, his initiatives in mathematical publishing. I wrote extensively about the first one; now there is another: to take over the arXiv overlay electronic journals. The same arguments apply.

Now it looks like this title is very good, contrary to my initial opinion. And there is no way back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

And who actually got Fields medals?

Previous post: Who will get Fields medals in less than two hours?

Of course, if you are interested, you know already: Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, Martin Hairer, Maryam Mirzakhani.

I named in my previous post all except Martin Hairer, who is working in a too distant area in which too many people are working. I was put off tracks by the claim that M. Mirzkhani definitely will not get the medal. Before this rumor (less than a week ago) I would estimate her chances as about 60%. The award has no effect on my opinion about her work: her results are very good and interesting, but not "stunning", as it is said in the citation. Many people in related areas and even in the same area made comparable or much deeper and unexpected contributions.

I do not consider my estimates of somebody chances as predictions when the estimate is 60% or even 80%.

But I made three predictions, and they turned out the be correct: Artur Avila will be a winner; one of the winners will be a woman; one of the winners will be from Stanford. The first two of them were rather easy to made. But why Stanford? The idea materialized in my mind out of blue sky only few days ago; there was no new information, neither rumors, nor mathematical news.

Instead of a medal Jacob Lurie recently got a prize worth of 3 millions. I hope that he realizes that the decision of the Fields medal committee not to give him a medal tells much more about the committee than about the depth and importance of his work.

Next post: To appear