(23% of recipients)

Listed below are recipients of the Fields Medal who were, or are, Jewish (or of half-Jewish descent, as noted).  Awarded every four years by the International Mathematical Union at the International Congress of Mathematicians to individuals who are forty years of age or younger,* the Fields Medal, known informally as the "Nobel Prize in Mathematics," is generally considered to be the single most prestigious award in the field.
  • Jesse Douglas (1936)
  • Laurent Schwartz (1950)
  • Klaus Roth (1958)
  • Paul Cohen (1966)
  • Alexander Grothendieck 1 (1966)
  • Alan Baker (1970)
  • Charles Fefferman (1978)
  • Gregori Margulis (1978)
  • Michael Freedman 2 (1986)
  • Vladimir Drinfeld (1990)
  • Edward Witten (1990)
  • Efim Zelmanov (1994)
  • Grigori Perelman (2006)
  • Wendelin Werner (2006)
  • Elon Lindenstrauss (2010)
* More specifically, the recipient's fortieth birthday must occur no earlier than January 1st of the award year.

According to a 2001 memoir in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society  (Vol. 38, No. 4, 2001, pp. 389-408) written by the prominent mathematician Pierre Cartier, Grothendieck's father was a Russian Jew surnamed Shapiro and his mother a German Jewish women named Hanka Grothendieck.  Cartier, a close acquaintance of Grothendieck, states: "what I know of his life comes from Grothendieck himself."   Thomas Drucker's earlier account in Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, edited by Emily McMurray  (Gale Research, Detroit, 1995, pp. 821-823) states that Grothendieck's father was a Russian Jew named Morris Shapiro and that the name "Grothendieck" was not that of his mother, but rather that of a governess who cared for him in Germany between 1929 and 1939.  "In the latter year, his mother took him to France, where he learned for the first time that he was Jewish by ancestry."  The source cited for this account is the mathematician and Grothendieck biographer Colin McLarty, who has described it as "one version that Grothendieck has given."  The most recent account, by Allyn Jackson in Notices of the American Mathematical Society (Vol. 51, No. 9, 2004, pp. 1039-1040:, states that Grothendieck's father was  a Russian Jew whose original name may have been Alexander  Shapiro, but who later assumed the name Alexander (Sascha) Tanaroff, and that his mother was Johanna (Hanka) Grothendieck, a German Lutheran from Hamburg.   This information is attributed to another Grothendieck biographer, Winfried Scharlau of the Universität Münster.  As Jackson notes: "many of the details about Grothendieck's family background and early life are sketchy or unknown."  According to all three accounts, however, Grothendieck's father was Jewish and was deported and murdered at Auschwitz, and Grothendieck himself was sheltered (along with several thousand other Jews) in the French Protestant village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in south-central France.  (According to Yad Vashem, an Alexandre Tanaroff was indeed deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on 14 August 1942.)

2. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother.


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