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Jean-Pierre Serre

Jean-Pierre SerreBack in 1954, Jean-Pierre Serre became the youngest mathematician to receive the Fields Medal. He was only twenty-seven years old. He was born on 15th of September in 1926 in Bages, France. He is one of the most famous French mathematicians of all time. He made various contributions to different mathematics fields like algebraic number theory, algebraic geometry, algebraic topology and other. In addition to his Fields Medal, Jean-Pierre was also awarded another prestigious medal for mathematics, the Abel Medal back in 2003.

Early Life and Education

Jean-Pierre Serre was born in Bages, France to parent both working as pharmacists. During his early childhood years, his parents and their scientific work influenced him. He attended the prestigious Lycée de Nîmes. Then in 1945, he was accepted at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. Then in 1951, he was awarded his doctorate degree from the prestigious Sorbonne. He held positions at the prestigious Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris from 1948 to 1954.

Then two years later, he was elected professor at the most prominent college in France, Collège de France. He held this position many years until his retirement back in 1994. His wife was a Professor Josiane Heulot-Serre. She was the director of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Jeunes Filles. Their daughter is Claudine Monteil who is the former French diplomat, writer, and historian.

Jean-Pierre’s Career

Since his university years, he was an outstanding student. He was working on various subjects like several complex variables, algebraic topology, algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. Then, he introduced homological algebra techniques and sheaf theory. He was also working on the Leray-Serre spectral sequence greatly associated to a fibration. Alongside another mathematician Cartan, he established the technique Eilenberg-MacLane spaces used in computing homotopy groups of spheres. At the time, it was one of the major problems in the field of topology.

Later Jean-Pierre changed his research focus, so he turned to algebraic geometry. In the 1950s, his collaboration with Alexander Grothendieck led to fundamental work motivated by the Weil conjectures. From 1959, Jean-Pierre interested moved towards number theory and group theory in particular modular forms and Galois representations. One of his most important contributions is his Conjecture II revolving around Galois cohomology. He also introduced his Serre conjecture that is a theorem now. Besides winning the Fields Medal back in 1954, he also won numerous other awards for his scientific work like the Steele Prize in 1995, the Balzan Prize in 1985, the Abel Prize in 2003 and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics back in 2000.

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