Artur Avila - A Brazilian Wunderkind Who Calms Chaos
Manjul Bhargava - The Musical, Magical Number Theorist
Martin Hairer - In Noisy Equations, One Who Heard Music
Maryam Mirzakhani - A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces
Subhash Khot - A Grand Vision for the Impossible
I had a friend who was Manjul's TA for a probability class our senior year. I still remember him exclaiming, "There's no way that series telescoped!"  when Manjul solved one problem in a particularly clever way.
The strange thing is that it was hard to tell at first if Manjul was particularly smart. Two of our other mathematically accomplished classmates, Lenny Ng and Kiran Kedlaya (both of whom I knew much better than Manjul), were obviously brilliant, but with Manjul it took a lot longer to figure out he was a genius.
I think now the secret is out.
By any chance, can you remember that problem? I have no way to understand Manjul Bhargava's work that got him the Nobel prize, but I could probably understand how he solved that problem, which would enable me to perceive a slight bit of his genius.
1. Mirzakhani is the first Iranian
2. Bhargava is the first Canadian
3. Hairer is the first Austrian
4. Avila is the first Brazilian
So, I understand instead that you're identifying this as notable for the following reason:
There are 100 times more women in the world than Canadians, yet women and Canadians have the same number of Fields Medals.
But my general feeling is that there used to be a few "powerhouse" countries and institutions that dominated, but that has been changing for many years. There's a lot more diversity these days. So I think kiyoto's point speaks to the changes there.
In 1950, it would have been pretty inconceivable that a woman from Iran would have had the access and opportunities to contribute to mathematics in a way that would have earned a Fields medal; in 2014, it's a first-time feat; hopefully, in the future, it quickly becomes mundane.
^suspect this is incorrect.
We don't hear about it much, but Iran has one of the best universities in the world.
The medal is not just Artur brilliance and hard work, but also due to the IMPA: http://www.impa.br/ A sixty years old institution that gathered Brazil best mathematicians and gave Artur the resources to become a great researcher. Brazil had to cultivate and invest in this institution for decades.
Iran has great universities: http://www.newsweek.com/surprising-success-irans-universitie...
The Medal is is probably just crowning their hard work.
The outcome of this is simple: you'll have selected top N individuals from an exam of half a million people and put them in a single school. Of course you're going to see those people shine. That says _nothing_ about the absolute quality of what that school gives you, just how good it is relative to its peers in the country, and I define quality as "output - input". The "input" is high quality, but the delta is merely meh in my opinion. Also, the students are high quality--the faculty are generally not (unlike what's mentioned in the article), but they do end up taking some credit.
In terms of the contribution of the country, I can just say that she is a survivor of an accident years ago, where seven talented math students died, whom had similar achievements to hers at the time. Overall, the contribution of the country to its mathematicians has been negative, specifically so to the female ones.
Since 1990, at least one Fields Medal winner has worked in France -- until this year. France has a culture of supporting mathematics and mathematicians. It has its quirks and difficulties, but national support for research has played an important role.
What you say doesn't make sense as she went to a very good Iranian school..
If some one is good enough to win Fields medal every one and every thing around works more like friction to their overall direction. And that's true for every country in the world.
EDIT - I'm not trying to be funny, her hairstyle makes her look like she has a receding hairline so I thought she was a man.
Here's a nice piece NPR did on him:
The whole thread is really incredible. Just a bit further down you see someone criticize him and his startup (Tarsnap) for having a "phenomenal misunderstanding of what it takes to create a successful software startup."
And then Drew Houston of Dropbox chimes in to say that he's building a similar backup solution.
Your chronology is a bit off -- I started writing code about a year before that thread. I had my first alpha testers at the time, and opened Tarsnap to the general public a few months later.
Doubtful. First, Forbes says that dhouston has a net worth of $1.2B; and even if I had been an extra cofounder, splitting the cofounder shares more ways would have brought it below $1B.
Second, I really doubt I could have stuck it out at Dropbox for the necessary time. I like to do things in ways which are technically right rather than necessarily financially right; Dropbox is a phenomenally successful business, but it's not a product which I like.
Make the post of your own path, and play to your strengths.
That's a technique i tried when i was bulding my latest "complex" algorithm (graph diffing with the graph stored in a sql db): Whenever i felt stuck, i went and took an online lesson in quantum mechanics ( susskin ones, the best).
All of the sudden, all my problems seemed really easy, and i was able to move forward almost right away.
I can't help seeing this and remember once more Robin Williams (RIP) in 'Good Will Hunting', where I first knew about the Field Medal and the magic of Maths was a recurring theme in that fantastic movie.
R.I.P. Robin Williams
Fairly obvious but whatever.
We're not particularly interested in average jokes.
It's not about being afraid, it's about not lowering the signal/noise ratio any further.
You should post a comment when, and only when, you have something substantive to say. There are many more downvotes than there are substantive things to say, which is why subthreads about downvotes invariably degenerate.
idea: you can track an explanation why something was downvoted without showing it as a comment. It can be shown only if a user clicks on some type of "why this was downvoted" link.
This would not lower the signal/noise ratio on the main thread. People can continue having a discussion that degenerates to low signal/ratio about the downvoting into this other link. If anything positive comes out of it, and enough people upvote it out of the downvoted status, then you can start commenting on it again.
This would also be aligned with the policy of posting a comment when, and only when, you have something substantive to say.
Because unless the comment was restored back to a positive score, you wouldn't be able to post a comment on the main thread (as a reply to that comment; not the whole thread). The policy would be enforced, and you dang wouldn't have to be telling people to not comment about downvoting.
W/ respect to your specific "sad" example, the topmost comment on that thread gives the relevant information and has not been downvoted (as I'm reading it). The downvoted comment below it doesn't seem to add anything useful (but I didn't downvote it).
Plus, if you think something's been downvoted inappropriately, vote it up. People make mistakes sometimes.
weak people conjecture and then get results "if my conjecture stands". This guy is a black belt, he makes a conjecture, gets a field medal for it, and then removes it from his proof ("just joking, it works wether it's true or not").
Still gets the medal for the now useless conjecture and not for the ultimate proof.
Strange that you feel the need to comment on a topic that you appear to know absolutely nothing about.