The portrait is of Shiing-Shen Chern at the age 73. His Chinese signature is to the left of the portrait, while his English signature sits to the right. The reverse of the Medal displays the generalized Gauss-Bonnet theorem, elegantly and intrinsically proved by Chern in 1944, now frequently termed the Chern-Gauss-Bonnet theorem:
We give below the details that were given when the Medal was announced in 2009:
The International Mathematical Union (IMU) and the Chern Medal Foundation (CMF) are launching a major new prize in mathematics, the Chern Medal Award. The Award is established in memory of the outstanding mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern (1911, Jiaxing, China - 2004, Tianjin, China).
Professor Chern devoted his life to mathematics, both in active research and education, and in nurturing the field whenever the opportunity arose. He obtained fundamental results in all the major aspects of modern geometry and founded the area of global differential geometry. Chern exhibited keen aesthetic tastes in his selection of problems, and the breadth of his work deepened the connections of modern geometry with different areas of mathematics.
The Medal is to be awarded to an individual whose lifelong outstanding achievements in the field of mathematics warrant the highest level of recognition. The Award consists of a medal and a monetary award of 500,000 US dollars. There is a requirement that half of the award shall be donated to organizations of the recipient's choice to support research, education, outreach or other activities to promote mathematics. Professor Chern was generous during his lifetime in his personal support of the field and it is hoped that this philanthropy requirement for the promotion of mathematics will set the stage and the standard for mathematicians to continue this generosity on a personal level. The laureate will be chosen by a Prize Committee appointed by the IMU and the CMF.
Winners of the Chern Medal Award
The Medal was awarded for the first time at the 2010 International Congress of Mathematicians in Hyderabad, India to Louis Nirenberg. The second award was made at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, Korea in 2014 to Phillip Griffiths.
2010 Louis Nirenberg
.... for his role in the formulation of the modern theory of non-liner elliptic partial differential equations and for mentoring numerous students and post-docs in this area.
2014 Phillip Griffiths
... for his groundbreaking and transformative development of transcendental methods in complex geometry, particularly his seminal work in Hodge theory and periods of algebraic varieties.
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