The subject of this Thursday (2) in the cafes of the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio de Janeiro is the malaise about the theft of one of the four Fields medals delivered yesterday . Minutes after the Iranian Caucher Birkar received the award, considered the “Nobel of mathematics”, two suspects raved about the medal. The situation adds up to a fire that affected the pavilion where the event would be held. When the space caught fire, the stage had already been set up and even the light tests had already been performed.

After the delivery ceremony, the people present at the event got up from their chairs and began to surround the winners to congratulate. It was during these minutes of relaxation that the Iranian mathematician turned to leave the folder with the medal on one of the chairs nearest. “It did not last five minutes, he turned to check and was not there,” says one person who was present at the time.

When Birkar stated in English that the medal was not in the place where he had left, a buzz took over the auditorium and people began searching for the missing folder.

The congressional team quickly asked for the images of the inner circuit and cameramen who were making institutional videos began to rummage through their recordings after the time of the theft. One of the cameras was able to register when one of the suspects, who has not yet had the name revealed, puts the folder in a backpack and passes the purse to another suspect. Noting that the suit had been filed, the organization of the event handed over the images to the police, leaving the investigators the decision whether or not to disclose their faces.

The record shows that at the time of the theft, the two suspects were not wearing the mandatory badges for entry into space. Today, security and support staff are redoubling the use of badges and credentials from everyone entering the premises of the event. Members of the organization, however, believe that the two suspects have gone through the accreditation process.

It is still being debated among the organizers whether a new medal will be made for Birkar or whether to wait for the completion of the police work. Some of the team still hopes to find the prize stolen, others believe that the medal may have already been melted. “There is an atmosphere of embarrassment, because last week there was a fire, which was commented on. “said a European researcher who asked not to be identified.

The German mathematician Peter Scholze, one of the four Fields award winners, said that he only learned of the theft when he was already at the hotel: “I learned from the media, I was sad for Birkar.” Asked if he was afraid the same would happen to him, Scholze said he was calm. “I have kept my own very well,” he said, laughing.