Michael Atiyah

Sir Michael Atiyah

Michael Francis Atiyah.jpg
Michael Atiyah in 2007
Michael Francis Atiyah

(1929-04-22)22 April 1929
Hampstead, London, England
Died11 January 2019(2019-01-11) (aged 89)
ResidenceUnited Kingdom
NationalityBritish, Lebanese [1]
Known forAtiyah–Singer index theorem
Atiyah–Segal completion theorem
Scientific career
Some Applications of Topological Methods in Algebraic Geometry (1955)
Doctoral advisorW. V. D. Hodge[2][3]
Doctoral students
Other notable studentsEdward Witten

Sir Michael Francis Atiyah OM FRS FRSE FMedSci FAA FREng[5] (ə/; 22 April 1929 – 11 January 2019) was a British-Lebanese mathematician specialising in geometry.[6]

Atiyah grew up in Sudan and Egypt but spent most of his academic life in the United Kingdom at University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, and in the United States at the Institute for Advanced Study.[7] He was the President of the Royal Society (1990–1995), founding director of the Isaac Newton Institute (1990–1996), master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1990–1997), chancellor of the University of Leicester (1995–2005), and the President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2005–2008). From 1997 until his death, he was an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh.[8]

Atiyah's mathematical collaborators included Raoul Bott, Friedrich Hirzebruch[9] and Isadore Singer, and his students included Graeme Segal, Nigel Hitchin and Simon Donaldson. Together with Hirzebruch, he laid the foundations for topological K-theory, an important tool in algebraic topology, which, informally speaking, describes ways in which spaces can be twisted. His best known result, the Atiyah–Singer index theorem, was proved with Singer in 1963 and is used in counting the number of independent solutions to differential equations. Some of his more recent work was inspired by theoretical physics, in particular instantons and monopoles, which are responsible for some subtle corrections in quantum field theory. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966 and the Abel Prize in 2004.

Education and early life

Great Court of Trinity College, Cambridge, where Atiyah was a student and later Master

Atiyah was born on 22 April 1929 in Hampstead, London, England, the son of Jean (née Levens) and Edward Atiyah.[10] His mother was Scottish and his father was a Lebanese Orthodox Christian. He had two brothers, Patrick (deceased) and Joe, and a sister, Selma (deceased).[11] Atiyah went to primary school at the Diocesan school in Khartoum, Sudan (1934–1941) and to secondary school at Victoria College in Cairo and Alexandria (1941–1945); the school was also attended by European nobility displaced by the Second World War and some future leaders of Arab nations.[12] He returned to England and Manchester Grammar School for his HSC studies (1945–1947) and did his national service with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (1947–1949). His undergraduate and postgraduate studies took place at Trinity College, Cambridge (1949–1955).[13] He was a doctoral student of William V. D. Hodge[3] and was awarded a doctorate in 1955 for a thesis entitled Some Applications of Topological Methods in Algebraic Geometry.[2][3]

Other Languages
العربية: مايكل عطية
تۆرکجه: مایکل آتیا
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slovenčina: Michael Atiyah
slovenščina: Michael Francis Atiyah
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українська: Майкл Атія
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