Viazovska recently dedicated one of her lectures to Yulia Zdanovksa, a young Ukrainian mathematician and computer scientist from Kharkiv. who was killed in a Russian missile attack. “When someone like her dies, it’s like the future dies,” Viazovska said. “Right now, Ukrainians are giving the highest price for our beliefs and for our freedom.”
Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska was named Tuesday as one of four recipients of the prestigious Fields Medal, which is often described as the Nobel Prize in mathematics.
The International Mathematical Union said Viazovska, who holds the chair in number theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, was being honored for her research into geometric problems.
Viazovska, 37, said she was very humbled to receive the prize for her work, which she said addresses a “very old and natural question,” namely the densest way to pack identical spheres.
While many people are familiar with the problem having seen cantaloupes stacked like a pyramid in a supermarket, Viazovska took it to another dimension — the eighth and 24th, to be precise — solving it in a way that drew widespread praise from top mathematicians.
“This is actually a very useful tool used in many areas of technology,” she told The Associated Press.
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