Congratulations to the 2010 Fields Medalists, announced yesterday in Hyderabad. Elon Lindenstrauss, Ngo Bau Chau, Stanislav Smirnov, and Cedric Villani have been awarded math’s highest honor. (Up to four medalists are chosen every four years.)
My sense going in was that Ngo was widely considered a shoo-in, for his proof of the Fundamental Lemma of Langlands Theory. Do you want to know what the Fundamental Lemma says? Here is an 18-page statement (not proof!) of the lemma. The others were all strong favorites. Nevertheless:
- Ngo’s Wikipedia page was created in May, 2007 — three years after he had won the prestigious (though not quite as prestigious as the Fields Medal) Clay Research Award.
- Smirnov’s Wikipedia page was created in May, 2009 — eight years after he had won the Clay Research Award.
- Villani’s Wikipedia page was created in May, 2010 — just a few months ago, and two years after he’d won the prestigious European Math Society award. (Moreover, until my friend Tim fixed it this morning, the page failed to come up if you searched for “Villani” on Wikipedia.)
- Lindenstrauss’s Wikipedia page was less than one week ago — four days before he won the Fields Medal, and six years after he won the European Math Society award. .
Now I realize that of all the wonderful free services we get from the web, the one we have least cause to complain about is Wikipedia. Still, I’m struck that as recently as a week ago, a mathematician with the caliber and influence of Elon Linderstrauss did not have a Wikipedia page, and a few months ago the same was true of Cedric Villani.
Are the superstars of other areas equally poorly represented?