Fields, John Charles

John Charles Fields, mathematician (b at Hamilton 14 May 1863; d at Toronto 9 Aug 1932). Educated at U of T (BA, 1884) and Johns Hopkins U (PhD, 1887), Fields taught mathematics for 4 years in Pennsylvania, then continued his studies at Paris, Göttingen and Berlin. On his return to Toronto (1902), he was appointed a lecturer in the mathematics department at U of T, becoming Research Professor of Mathematics in 1923. Fields was an ardent campaigner for both business and state support for scientific research, taking his message to the Canadian Manufacturers' Assn and boards of trade. He was active in the creation of the School of Graduate Studies at U of T, and the ONTARIO RESEARCH FOUNDATION. Fields was instrumental in arranging the first postwar meeting of the International Congress of Mathematicians (1924), at which he presided. With funds left from organizing the meeting, he attempted to establish a mathematics prize to be awarded at congress meetings, held every 4 years. These efforts resulted in the Fields Medal, named in his honour and first awarded in 1932. Fields was elected a fellow of the Royal Soc of Canada (1909), of London (1913), and to honorary membership in nearly all the world's mathematical societies, including the Academy of Sciences, USSR. He was president of the Royal Canadian Institute, 1919-25.