Kontsevich was born in 1964 in the USSR. He studied mathematics at Moscow State University where he was a student of Israel Gelfand. In 1992, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn in Germany. Don Zagier served as his thesis advisor. For one year, he was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1995, he has been a permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Bures-sur-Yvette, France. Kontsevich works in many areas of modern mathematics and mathematical physics and has received numerous prizes, including the Fields Medal in 1998.