What Fields Medal Prize Money Will Buy You in 2014

A woman has, at last, won the highest prize in Mathematics, the Fields Medal, the name of which might ring a faint bell because it’s mentioned in Good Will Hunting, the movie we keep talking about this week for various reasons.* The winner is Maryam Mirzakhani, and one day maybe her name will ring a bell too, the way Marie Curie’s does.

Meanwhile, what will the cash associated with the super-prestigious “Nobel of Math” buy her on the open market? Not much:

The prize, worth 15,000 Canadian dollars (£8,000), is awarded to exceptional talents under the age of 40 once every four years by the International Mathematical Union. Between two and four prizes are announced each time.

15,000 Canadian dollars = about $13,700, which is more than a Pulitzer, but still not a life-changing amount of money. It could buy her:

+ A Kia Spectra

+ This 2 carat round diamond solitaire ring in 14k white gold

+ One super-ultra-beyond first class ticket to Singapore — or, as Buzzfeed points out, “you could fly to Vegas every four days for an entire year

Do these prizes keep up with inflation or were they vastly more significant at one time?

*NOTE: Re-watch it! There’s lots in it about money and class and there might be a quiz on Friday.