World’s Most Prestigious ‘Nobel Prize’ Is Stolen Minutes After Maths Professor Wins It

Receiving an award for our work is something that boosts us and motivates to do more and more to the society. And one of the greatest awards in the world is Nobel Prize. It is given to the people in recognition of academic, cultural and scientific advances. Getting a Nobel prize means the world had recognized him/her for their services. It takes a lot of hard work to touch the pinnacle of success, but only a second to lose it.

Caucher Birkar

Not really sure how would Caucher Birkar, a Cambridge professor be feeling at the moment. Birkar received the Nobel Prize in the field of Mathematics during a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. But within no time, the prize was stolen. Birkar was born in Iran and moved to the UK as a refugee two decades ago.

Caucher Birkar, a Kurdish refugee from Iran teaching at Cambridge University was among four winners of the prestigious Fields Medal, put the gold medal, in a briefcase and soon afterward realized that it had been stolen. Birkar had left the medal in a briefcase with his cell phone and wallet on top of a table in the pavilion where the event was being held.

The event’s security team later found the briefcase under a bench, but the medal worth $4000 was missing. It was an embarrassing debut for crime-ridden Rio, the first Latin American city ever to host the Fields ceremony, which takes place every four years. The organizer behind the event, the International Congress of Mathematicians, said it “profoundly regrets” the incident.


Images recorded at the event are being analyzed. The organizing committee is cooperating with local police authorities in their investigation. The Fields medal was first awarded in 1936 and from 1950, it started recognizing the outstanding mathematicians who were under 40 years old. At least two and preferably four people are honored each time.

Along with Caucher Birkar, the other three professors who received the prestigious award were Akshay Venkatesh, Alessio Figalli, and Peter Scholze.

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