A Korean American Mathematician June Huh Won the 2022 Fields Medal

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June Huh (39) won the 2022 Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics. He is a professor of mathematics at Princeton University and has become the first scholar of Korean descent to win Fields Medal.

He was born in 1983 in California and moved to South Korea when he was about 2 years old. He dropped out of high school in his freshman year to become a poet. But he realized it’s not what he really wanted and took a GED (General Educational Development) test to earn a high school diploma. Afterwards, he entered Seoul National University, the most prestigious university in Korea.

June Huh wasn’t a perfect mathematician from the beginning. He first majored in astronomy and physics and started double majored in mathematics in his 5th year. (He went to the university for 6 years.) He began his doctoral program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and completed the program at the University of Michigan in 2011. Afterwards, he became a professor at Princeton University.

At the interview with a South Korean media group Money Today, June Huh said to those who are slowly walking in their own directions, “I traveled a long way to find my work and aptitude, but looking back, I think that path was the most suitable path for me. Your mind becomes rigid if you set goals in advance. So even if life doesn’t work out the way you thought it would be, I hope you don’t get impatient or obsessed with it. The mind goes where it wants to go. I think it’s best to let the mind do what it wants to do and help out little by little. Please take good care of yourself as if you were raising a child.” (reference)

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