Alexander Grothendieck
On March 28th, 1928 in Berlin, Germany, a young child was born. His name, Alexander Grothendieck. Alexander, a banded by his parents at a young age, grew up with other family in Hamburg, Germany. While battling the social and physical elements of living through World War II he tried to live a normal life as any other child might in other countries. In 1933 Grothendieck moved to France with his siblings to join there mother (Hanka Grothendieck) in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. This small village contained various refugee camps. While growing up Grothendieck continued his studies, but little did anyone know that he would soon become one of the most influential mathematicians in the twentieth century.

Grothendieck had an extensive and thorough education. After high school he attended the University of Montpellier, with the plans to become a math teacher. His reasoning for becoming a teacher was that there no more to mathematics. He was influenced by several people that told him math was solved in the early twentieth century. In 1948 after being recognized for his incredible talent in mathematics he was encouraged to continue his study and research. He then attended Henri Cartan's Seminar at École Normale Superieure in Paris. But after realizing he lacked background in advanced seminar teaching he transferred to the University of Nancy. He did a lot of his research here including his work with functional analysis. After gaining is doctorate at U of Nancy he then was enrolled at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES).

Alexander Grothendieck is not a famous mathematician for any general reason, he got to where he is now by hard work and intelligence. These things produced many great things and still continue to do so today. Unlike other many popular mathematicians Grothendieck produced theories and explanations with reference and support of equations. He was not one for solving the quadratic formula or how we got pi to equal 3.14159… Grothendieck was one for solving the psychological and emotional affect of math. Such as philosophical meditations on themes such as free choice, determinism and the existence of evil.

Although I say Grothendieck did not relate a lot of his work to actual physical and practical math, one of his greatest accomplishments and expertise lays in the field of topological vector spaces. As you could guess from the name (topological vector spaces) this concept deals with blending of a topological structure, and the algebraic concept of vector spaces. Although Grothendieck does not have a vector space named after him like Hilbert spaces (David Hilbert) or Banach spaces (Stefan Banach) he contributed greatly to this concept. Some of his other accomplishments include a renewed theory of algebraic geometry, the writing of “Elements of Algebraic Geometry” and the Grothendieck–Hirzebruch–Riemann–Roch theorem (which deals with complex manifolds) just to name a few.

As you can see from these in-depth and complex mathematical theorems, formulas and experiments Alexander Grothendieck is extremely accomplished mathematician. He has received numerous awards including the Fields Medal awarded by the International Congress of Mathematics in Moscow, and the Crafoord Prize. Grothendieck disappeared in August 1991 and it was said he moved to an unknown location. He welcomes no visitors and refuses and contact with humans. Although Grothendieck has been away from the math world for several years he still remains a influential figure in mathematics.


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