Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska was named on Tuesday as one of four recipients of the prestigious Fields Medal, which is often described as the Nobel Prize in mathematics.
The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40. The recipients are normally announced at the International Congress of Mathematicians, which was originally due to be held in Russia this year but moved to Helsinki instead.
The International Mathematical Union said Ms Viazovska, who holds the chair in number theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, was being honoured for her work on the densest packing of identical spheres in eight dimensions.
Ms Viazovska said Russia’s attack on Ukraine has changed her life.
“When the war started I could not think about anything else, including mathematics,” she said, adding that teaching has offered some respite, however.
“When I’m in front of the class, I have to forget about everything else because I have to be very focused,” said Ms Viazovska. “This made me forget about the fear and pain inside myself.”