Why Borcherds won the Fields medal.

Terry Gannon

(Alberta !)

Abstract: The Fields medal is math's most prestigious honour, and in august Richard Borcherds recieved one. It turns out that my work overlaps somewhat with his (sigh, his work is much deeper....), and so I can perhaps explain a little of what he has accomplished. The main thrust of his work was to understand why 196884=196883+1, and to accomplish this he invented vertex operator algebras and generalised Kac-Moody algebras.