Alexander Grothendieck cover

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Alexander Grothendieck

French mathematician

1928   -   2014

country of citizenship: France
educated at: University of Montpellier, École Normale Supérieure, Nancy-Université
occupation: mathematician, university teacher
award received: Fields Medal, Émile Picard Medal, Crafoord Prize
student of: Laurent Schwartz

Alexander Grothendieck (; German: [ˈɡroːtn̩diːk]; French: [ɡʁɔtɛndik]; 28 March 1928 – 13 November 2014) was a stateless mathematician (naturalized French in 1971) who became the leading figure in the creation of modern algebraic geometry. His research extended the scope of the field and added elements of commutative algebra, homological algebra, sheaf theory and category theory to its foundations, while his so-called "relative" perspective led to revolutionary advances in many areas of pure mathematics. He is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century.Born in Germany, Grothendieck was raised and lived primarily in France. For much of his working life, however, he was, in effect, stateless. As he consistently spelled his first name "Alexander" rather than "Alexandre" and his surname, taken from his mother, was the Dutch-like Low German "Grothendieck", he was sometimes mistakenly believed to be of Dutch origin.Grothendieck began his productive and public career as a mathematician in 1949. In 1958, he was appointed a research professor at the Institut des hautes études scientifiques (IHÉS) and remained there until 1970, when, driven by personal and political convictions, he left following a dispute over military funding. He later became professor at the University of Montpellier and, while still producing relevant mathematical work, he withdrew from the mathematical community and devoted himself to political causes. Soon after his formal retirement in 1988, he moved to the Pyrenees, where he lived in isolation until his death in 2014.
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