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June Huh becomes 1st scholar of Korean descent to win Fields Medal

All News 16:18 July 05, 2022

HELSINKI, July 5 (Yonhap) -- June Huh, a Korean American mathematician and professor at Princeton University, was named as a recipient for this year's Fields Medal, a prestigious international prize awarded to mathematicians under 40 for achievement in the field of mathematics.

The 39-year-old professor, who also serves as a distinguished professor of mathematics at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, became the first-ever scholar of Korean descent to win the award handed down by the International Mathematical Union every four years.

The Fields Medal, first introduced in 1936, was founded to recognize and support younger mathematical scholars who have made major contributions in the field of mathematics.

Huh was born in 1983 in California but grew up in South Korea. He majored in physics and astronomy as an undergraduate at Seoul National University (SNU) and studied mathematics at the university's graduate school. Huh obtained his mathematics Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2014.

He was mentored by Heisuke Hironaka, a renowned Japanese mathematician and a 1970 Fields Medal recipient, who taught at SNU for a year as a visiting professor when Huh was in his last year of his undergraduate studies.

Huh is often described as a late bloomer, having told Quanta magazine in a 2017 interview that he didn't think he was good at math growing up. He said he took to poetry instead as a teenager, viewing it as a field of creative expression.

One of Huh's career-defining achievements is his joint research in resolving the so-called Rota conjecture. He was a recipient of the Samsung Ho-Am Prize in Science for physics and mathematics in 2021.

A file photo of June Huh, a professor of mathematics at Princeton University, provided by the Korea Institute for Advanced Study (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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