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It had bugged mathematicians ever since , when the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat claimed in a note scribbled in a book margin to have a proof just too long to fit there. Connes built on work by the polymath John von Neumann, a man often described as the last mathematician who understood all of the subject, on algebras relevant to the weird world of quantum theory.

Growing up I didn't even know that mathematicians existed!

In recent years, he has also collaborated with the physicist Carlo Rovelli in an attempt to establish a mathematically grounded description of one of the biggest mysteries in physics: why we experience a flowing time. It is famously abstract: an obituary written for the scientific journal Nature was nearly rejected when it turned out that almost none of his work could be sufficiently simplified.

Grothendieck was an intense man of profound personal conviction.

In , he refused to travel to Moscow to collect his Fields medal in protest at the actions of the Soviet regime, and the following year, in response to US involvement in the Vietnam war, went to Hanoi to give mathematics lectures while the bombs fell around him. After retiring from the University of Montpelier in , he retreated to a small village at the foot of the Pyrenees, where he lived in isolation until his death in By Gilead Amit The Fields medals are considered the ultimate accolade in mathematics.

Read more: Theorem of everything — The secret that links numbers and shapes. Grigori Perelman Getty. These lectures usually focus on crucial contemporary issues, aiming to make research accessible to the general academic audience, and to disseminate knowledge to broader society.

Ciarlet expressed gratitude for the support of the French academic community for the lecture series. The series provides an ideal platform for intellectual exploration, creative thinking and problem solving. They are well aligned to the IAS objectives of becoming an international centre of excellence for the advancement of technology and innovation.

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The Numbers behind a Fields Medalist's Math - Scientific American Blog Network

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