Fields Medal
Fields Medal
(first awarded 1936)

The Fields Medal was established to recognize outstanding contributions to mathematics. It was the idea of John Charles Fields, who also left funds in his will for the medals.

On the obverse of the medal, surrounding the image of Archimedes, the Latin inscription is a phrase from the Roman poet Manilius, in his Astronomica 4.392, of the first century A.D.

It may be translated: “to pass beyond your understanding and make yourself master of the universe”.

The complete passage is “The object of your quest is God; you are seeking to scale the skies and though born beneath the rule of fate, to gain knowledge of that fate; you are seeking to pass beyond your understanding and make yourself master of the universe. The toil involved matches the reward to be won, nor are such high attainments secured without a price.....”
— Loeb translation of Astronomica 4.392
by G.P. Goold of Harvard, 1977

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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