About The Fields Institute
The Fields Institute is a centre for mathematical research activity - a place where mathematicians from Canada and abroad, from academia, business, industry and financial institutions, can come together to carry out research and formulate problems of mutual interest. Our mission is to provide a supportive and stimulating environment for mathematics innovation and education.
The Fields Institute promotes mathematical activity in Canada and helps to expand the application of mathematics in modern society.
Founded in 1992, the Fields Institute was initially located at the University of Waterloo. Since 1995, it has occupied a building designed and constructed for Institute activities on the campus of the University of Toronto.
Our mission is to enhance mathematical activity in Canada by bringing together mathematicians from Canada and abroad, and by promoting contact and collaboration between professional mathematicians and the increasing numbers of users of mathematics. Thus the Institute supports research in pure and applied mathematics, statistics and computer science, as well as collaboration between mathematicians and those applying mathematics in areas such as engineering, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, economics and finance, telecommunications and information systems.
The Fields Institute environment is designed to support and enhance all of these activities. Office space is provided for about 60 visiting membersand for a number of incubated companies. A supportive staff enables program participants to devote most of their energies to research and visitors have access to most of the facilities at the University of Toronto, including its excellent mathematics collection.
The primary activities at the Institute are its thematic and focus programs, each lasting for one to six months. They involve participants from Canada and around the world, including graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and more senior and well-established scientists. The potential topics of thematic and focus programs embrace all of the mathematical sciences, as well as any areas in which mathematics is, or can be, applied.
The principal purpose of thematic and focus programs is to draw together researchers with common interests for collaboration. Regular workshops, conferences and advanced graduate courses are arranged by the program organizers to support these goals.
In addition, the Institute supports activities of shorter duration such as workshops and conferences, regularly scheduled seminars series, special lecture series, courses and summer schools, and outreach events. Such activities are sometimes held off-site.
The Commercial and Industrial Mathematics program (CIM) acts as a bridge connecting the mathematics community and businesses that benefit from research in the mathematical sciences. Thus the CIM program seeks to communicate results in mathematics to the business community, and conversely to create an awareness among mathematicians of the needs of that community. The institute receives advice about CIM activities from its Industrial Advisory Board.
The Institute is also committed to Mathematics Education. The focus of these efforts is the Mathematics Education Forum, which holds monthly meetings at the Institute to discuss issues of mathematics education at all levels. The Forum brings together participants from high schools, school boards, faculties of education, mathematics departments in universities and colleges, and the private sector. One of the major contributions of the Forum to education was the 1998 revision of the Ontario high school mathematics curriculum, carried out through a contract of the Fields Institute with the provincial Department of Education.
A more detailed view of Institute activities is to be found on the Programs and Activities page.
Major funding for the Institute is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Our eight Principal Sponsoring Universities are: Carleton University, McMaster University, Queen's University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Western University, and York University. Current benefits for Principal Sponsoring Universities are described here.
In addition there are fifteen Affiliate Universities: Brock University, Lakehead University, Iowa State University, Nipissing University, the Royal Military College of Canada, Ryerson University, the University of Guelph, the University of Houston, the Université Lille 1, the University of Manitoba, the University of Maryland, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Windsor, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Current benefits for Affiliate Universities are described here.
The Corporate Affiliate Members of the Fields Institute are: CANNEX, IBM Canada, Maplesoft, Scotiabank, Sigma Analysis and Management, the TMX Group and Waterfront International Ltd. Current benefits for Corporate Affiliate Members are described here.
The Fields Institute is named after the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields (1863-1932). Fields was a pioneer and visionary who recognized the scientific, educational, and economic value of research in the mathematical sciences. Fields spent many of his early years in Berlin and, to a lesser extent, in Paris and Göttingen, the principal mathematical centres of Europe of that time. These experiences led him, after his return to Canada, to work for the public support of university research, which he did very successfully. He also organized and presided over the 1924 meeting of the International Congress of Mathematicians in Toronto. This quadrennial meeting was, and still is, the major meeting of the mathematics world.
There is no Nobel Prize in mathematics, and Fields felt strongly that there should be a comparable award to recognize the most outstanding current research in mathematics. With this in mind, he established the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, which, contrary to his personal directive, is now known as the Fields Medal. Information on Fields Medal winners can be found through the International Mathematical Union, which chooses the quadrennial recipients of the prize.
Fields' name was given to the Institute in recognition of his seminal contributions to world mathematics and his work on behalf of high level mathematical scholarship in Canada. The Institute aims to carry on the work of Fields and to promote the wider use and understanding of mathematics in Canada.