Alexander Grothendieck cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Grothendieck

German-French mathematician

1928   -   2014

country of citizenship: France, German Reich
native language: German
language of expression: French, German
educated at: University of Montpellier, École normale supérieure, Nancy-Université
occupation: mathematician, university teacher
award received: Fields medal, Émile Picard Medal, Crafoord Prize in Mathematics, Crafoord Prize, Cours Peccot
student of: Laurent Schwartz

Alexander Grothendieck (; German: [ˈɡroːtn̩diːk]; French: [ɡʁɔtɛndik]; 28 March 1928 – 13 November 2014) was a mathematician 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, and he and his family were persecuted by the Nazi regime. 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 received his Fields Medal in 1966 for advances in algebraic geometry, homological algebra, and K-theory. 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 and religious pursuits (first Buddhism and later a more Christian vision). In 1991, he moved to the French village of Lasserre in the Pyrenees, where he lived secluded, still working tirelessly on mathematics until his death in 2014.
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