(Johan Hastad won the Knuth Prize! The below post was written before I knew that but has a mild connection to it. See here for more info on the Hastad winning it, or see Lance's tweet, or see Boaz's blog post here. There will prob be other blogs about it as well. ADDED LATER: Lipton and Regan have a post on this here.)
The Fields Medal was recently awarded to
I was going to try to give one sentence about what they did, but Wikipedia does a better job than I ever could so I point there: here. Terry Tao also has some comments on the Fields Medal here. So does Doron Zeilberger here.
How much is a Fields medal worth?
1) The winners get $15,000 each.
2) Winning a Fields medal gets one a higher salary and the ability to change schools, so the $15,000 might not be the main monetary part. All Field Medalists are under 40 so the salary increases and such last for a much longer time then (say) a Nobel prize given for life achievements to someone much older. So you may rather win a Fields' medal when you are 39 than a Nobel when you are 70. The Abel prize is around 740,000 dollars and (I think) given for lifetime achievement so again, a Fields Prize may be better. (See here for more on the Abel Prize). Which would I prefer to win? I would be delighted if that was my dilemma.
3) I am sure that none of the four winners went into math because of the allure of the $15,000 Fields Medal.
4) The title of this post is ambiguous. It can also be read as
how valuable is the actual medal?
The answer is $4000, much more than I would have thought. I only know this since it was recently stolen, see here.
This raises a linguistic question. The four people above can say
I WON a Fields Medal
The thief can say
I HAVE a Fields Medal
and hope that people don't quite realize that he didn't earn it.
(The article about the theft says the Fields medal is $11,500 dollars. Do they deduct the cost of the Medal itself? Or is the article wrong?)