Alexander Grothendieck

User:Geometry guy/Infobox

Alexander Grothendieck (born March 28, 1928 in Berlin, Germany) is considered to be one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. He made major contributions to: algebraic topology, algebraic geometry, number theory, category theory, Galois theory,descent theory commutative homological algebra and functional analysis. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966, and was co-awarded the Crafoord Prize with Pierre Deligne in 1988. He declined the latter prize on ethical grounds in an open letter to the media.

He is noted for his mastery of abstract approaches to mathematics, and his perfectionism in matters of formulation and presentation. In particular, he demonstrated the ability to derive concrete results using only very general methods. [See, for example, harv|Deligne|1998.] Citation
last =Jackson
first =Allyn
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Comme Appelé du Néant — As If Summoned from the Void: The Life of Alexandre Grothendieck I
journal = Notices of the American Mathematical Society
volume = 51
issue = 4
pages = p. 1049
date = 2004
year =
url = http://www.ams.org/notices/200409/fea-grothendieck-part1.pdf
doi =
id =
] cite web
last = Mclarty
first = Colin
title=The Rising Sea: Grothendieck on simplicity and generality I
url=http://www.math.jussieu.fr/~leila/grothendieckcircle/mclarty1.pdf
format = PDF
accessdate=2008-01-13
] Relatively little of his work after 1960 was published by the conventional route of the learned journal, circulating initially in duplicated volumes of seminar notes; his influence was to a considerable extent personal, on French mathematics and the Zariski school at Harvard University. He is the subject of many stories and some misleading rumors concerning his work habits and politics, his confrontations with other mathematicians and the French authorities, his withdrawal from mathematics at age 42, his retirement, and his subsequent lengthy writings.

Mathematical achievements

Homological methods and sheaf theory had already been introduced in algebraic geometry by Jean-Pierre Serre and others, after sheaves had been described by Jean Leray. Grothendieck took them to a higher level of abstraction and turned them into the key organising principle of his theory. He thereby changed the tools and the level of abstraction in algebraic geometry.

Amongst his insights, he shifted attention from the study of individual varieties to the "relative point of view" (pairs of varieties related by a morphism), allowing a broad generalization of many classical theorems. This he applied first to the Riemann–Roch theorem, around 1956, which had already recently been generalized to any dimension by Hirzebruch. The Grothendieck–Riemann–Roch theorem was announced by Grothendieck at the initial Mathematische Arbeitstagung in Bonn, in 1957. It appeared in print in a paper written by Armand Borel with Serre.

His foundational work on algebraic geometry is at a higher level of abstraction than all prior versions. He adapted the use of non-closed generic points, which led to the theory of schemes. He also pioneered the systematic use of nilpotents. As 'functions' these can take only the value 0, but they carry infinitesimal information, in purely algebraic settings. His "theory of schemes" has become established as the best universal foundation for this major field, because of its great expressive power as well as technical depth. In that setting one can use birational geometry, techniques from number theory, Galois theory and commutative algebra, and close analogues of the methods of algebraic topology, all in an integrated way.

Its influence spilled over into many other branches of mathematics, for example the contemporary theory of D-modules. (It also provoked adverse reactions, with many mathematicians seeking out more concrete areas and problems. Grothendieck is one of the few mathematicians who matches the French concept of maître à penser; some go further and call him maître-penseur.)

EGA and SGA

The bulk of Grothendieck's published work is collected in the monumental, and yet incomplete, "Éléments de géométrie algébrique" (EGA) and "Séminaire de géométrie algébrique" (SGA). The collection "Fondements de la Géometrie Algébrique" (FGA), which gathers together talks given in the Séminaire Bourbaki, also contains important material.

Perhaps Grothendieck's deepest single accomplishment is the invention of the étale and l-adic cohomology theories, which explain an observation of André Weil's that there is a deep connection between the topological characteristics of a variety and its diophantine (number theoretic) properties. For example, the number of solutions of an equation over a finite field reflects the topological nature of its solutions over the complex numbers. Weil realized that to prove such a connection one needed a new cohomology theory, but neither he nor any other expert saw how to do this until such a theory was found by Grothendieck.

This program culminated in the proofs of the Weil conjectures by Grothendieck's student Pierre Deligne in the early 1970s after Grothendieck had largely withdrawn from mathematics.

Major mathematical topics (from "Récoltes et Semailles")

He wrote a retrospective assessment of his mathematical work (see the external link "La Vision" below). As his main mathematical achievements ("maître-thèmes"), he chose this collection of 12 topics (his chronological order):

#Topological tensor products and nuclear spaces
#"Continuous" and "discrete" duality (derived categories and "six operations").
#"Yoga" of the Grothendieck–Riemann–Roch theorem (K-theory, relation with intersection theory).
#Schemes.
#Topoi.
#Étale cohomology including l-adic cohomology.
#Motives and the motivic Galois group (and Grothendieck categories)
#Crystals and crystalline cohomology, "yoga" of De Rham and Hodge coefficients.
#Topological algebra, infinity-stacks, 'dérivateurs', cohomological formalism of toposes as an inspiration for a new homotopic algebra
#Tame topology.
#"Yoga" of anabelian geometry and Galois–Teichmüller theory.
#Schematic point of view, or "arithmetics" for regular polyhedra and regular configurations of all sorts.

He wrote that the central theme of the topics above is that of topos theory, while the first and last were of the least importance to him.

Here the term "yoga" denotes a kind of "meta-theory" that can be used heuristically.Clarifyme|date=March 2008 The word "yoke", meaning "linkage", is derived from the same Indo-European root.

Life

Family and early life

Born to a Russian father of Jewish parentage, Alexander Shapiro, and a mother of German Protestant origin, Hanka Grothendieck, in Berlin. He was a displaced person during much of his childhood due to the upheavals of World War II. Alexander lived with his parents both of whom were anarchists, until 1933, in Berlin. At the end of that year, Shapiro moved to Paris, and Hanka followed him the next year. They left Alexander with a family in Hamburg where he went to school. During this time, his parents fought in the Spanish Civil War.

During WWII

In 1939 Alexander came to France and lived in various camps for displaced persons with his mother, first at the Camp de Rieucros, spending 1942–44 at Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. His father was sent via Drancy to Auschwitz where he died in 1942.

tudies and contact with research mathematics

After the war, young Grothendieck studied mathematics in France, initially at the University of Montpellier. He had decided to become a math teacher because he had been told that mathematical research had been completed early in the 20th century and there were no more open problems. [See Jackson (2004:1). The remark is from the beginning of Récoltes et Semailles (page P4, in the introductory section Prélude en quatre Mouvements)] However, his talent was noticed, and he was encouraged to go to Paris in 1948.

Initially, Grothendieck attended Henri Cartan's Seminar at École Normale Supérieure, but lacking the necessary background to follow the high-powered seminar, he moved to the University of Nancy where he wrote his dissertation under Laurent Schwartz in functional analysis, from 1950 to 1953. At this time he was a leading expert in the theory of topological vector spaces. By 1957, he set this subject aside in order to work in algebraic geometry and homological algebra.

The IHÉS years

Installed at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS), Grothendieck attracted attention, first by his spectacular Grothendieck-Riemann-Roch theorem, and then by an intense and highly productive activity of seminars ("de facto" working groups drafting into foundational work some of the ablest French and other mathematicians of the younger generation). Grothendieck himself practically ceased publication of papers through the conventional, learned journal route. He was, however, able to play a dominant role in mathematics for around a decade, gathering a strong school.

During this time he had officially as students Michel Demazure (who worked on SGA3, on group schemes), Luc Illusie (cotangent complex), Michel Raynaud, Jean-Louis Verdier (cofounder of the derived category theory) and Pierre Deligne. Collaborators on the SGA projects also included Mike Artin (étale cohomology) and Nick Katz (monodromy theory and Lefschetz pencils). Jean Giraud worked out torsor theory extensions of non-abelian cohomology. Many others were involved.

Politics and retreat from scientific community

Grothendieck's political views were radical left-wing and pacifist. He gave lectures on category theory in the forests surrounding Hanoi while the city was being bombed, to protest against the Vietnam War ("The Life and Work of Alexander Grothendieck", American Math. Monthly, vol. 113, no. 9, footnote 6). He retired from scientific life around 1970, after having discovered the partly military funding of IHÉS (see pp. xii and xiii of SGA1, Springer Lecture Notes 224). He returned to academia a few years later as a professor at the University of Montpellier, where he stayed until his retirement in 1988. His criticisms of the scientific community are also contained in a [http://web.archive.org/web/20060106062005/http://www.math.columbia.edu/~lipyan/CrafoordPrize.pdf letter] , written in 1988, in which he states the reasons for his refusal of the Crafoord Prize.

Manuscripts written in the 1980s

While not publishing mathematical research in conventional ways during the 1980s, he produced several influential manuscripts with limited distribution, with both mathematical and biographical content. During that period he also released his work on Bertini type theorems contained in EGA 5, published by the [http://www.math.jussieu.fr/~leila/grothendieckcircle/index.php Grothendieck Circle] in 2004.

"La Longue Marche à travers la théorie de Galois" ("The Long March Through Galois Theory") is an approximately 1600-page handwritten manuscript produced by Grothendieck during the years 1980-1981, containing many of the ideas leading to the "Esquisse d'un programme" [http://kolmogorov.unex.es/~navarro/res/esquissefr.pdf] (see below, and also a more detailed entry [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquisse_d%27un_Programme] ), and in particular studying the Teichmüller theory.

In 1983 he wrote a huge extended manuscript (about 600 pages) entitled "Pursuing Stacks", stimulated by correspondence with Ronald Brown (mathematician), (see also [http://www.bangor.ac.uk/r.brown R.Brown] and [http://www.informatics.bangor.ac.uk/~tporter/ Tim Porter] at
University of Bangor in Wales), and starting with a letter addressed to Daniel Quillen. This letter and successive parts were distributed from Bangor (see External Links below): in an informal manner, as a kind of diary, Grothendieck explained and developed his ideas on the relationship between algebraic homotopy theory and algebraic geometry and prospects for a noncommutative theory of stacks. The manuscript, which is being edited for publication by G. Maltsiniotis, later led to another of his monumental works, "Les Dérivateurs". Written in 1991, this latter opus of about 2000 pages further developed the homotopical ideas begun in "Pursuing Stacks". Much of this work anticipated the subsequent development of the motivic homotopy theory of F. Morel and V. Voevodsky in the mid 1990s.

His "Esquisse d'un programme" [http://kolmogorov.unex.es/~navarro/res/esquissefr.pdf] (1984) is a proposal for a position at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, which he held from 1984 to his retirement in 1988. Ideas from it have proved influential, and have been developed by others, in particular dessins d'enfants and a new field emerging as anabelian geometry. In "La Clef des Songes" he explains how the reality of dreams convinced him of God's existenceFact|date=August 2008.

The 1000-page autobiographical manuscript "Récoltes et semailles" (1986) is now available on the internet in the French original, and an English translation is underway (these parts of Récoltes et semailles have already been [http://www.mccme.ru/free-books/grothendieck/RS.html translated into Russian] and published in Moscow). Some parts of "Récoltes et semailles" [http://kolmogorov.unex.es/~navarro/res/preludio.pdf] [http://kolmogorov.unex.es/~navarro/res/carta.pdf] and the whole "Le Clef des Songes" [http://kolmogorov.unex.es/~navarro/res/clef1-6.pdf] have been translated into Spanish.

Disappearance

In 1991, he left his home and disappeared. He is now said to live in southern France or Andorra and to entertain no visitors. Though he has been inactive in mathematics for many years, he remains one of the greatest and most influential mathematicians of modern times.

ee also


*Birkhoff-Grothendieck theorem
*Grothendieck's connectedness theorem
*Grothendieck connection
*Grothendieck's Galois theory
*Grothendieck group
* Grothendieck category [http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/GrothendieckCategory.html ]
*Grothendieck inequality or Grothendieck constant
*Grothendieck–Katz p-curvature conjecture
*Grothendieck's relative point of view
*Grothendieck-Riemann-Roch theorem
*Grothendieck's Séminaire de géométrie algébrique
*Grothendieck space
*Grothendieck spectral sequence
*Grothendieck topology
*Grothendieck universe
*Tarski-Grothendieck set theory

Notes

References

* Citation
first = Pierre
last = Cartier
author-link =
first2 =
last2 =
author2-link =
editor-last =
editor-first =
editor2-last =
editor2-first =
contribution = La Folle Journée, de Grothendieck à Connes et Kontsevich — Évolution des Notions d'Espace et de Symétrie
contribution-url =
title = Les Relations entre les Mathématiques et la Physique Théorique — Festschrift for the 40th anniversary of the IHÉS
year = 1998
pages = 11–19
place =
publisher = Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques
url =
doi =
id =

* Citation
last = Cartier
first = Pierre
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = A mad day's work: from Grothendieck to Connes and Kontsevich The evolution of concepts of space and symmetry
journal = Bull. Amer. Math. Soc.
volume = 38
issue = 4
pages = 389–408
date = 2001
year =
url = http://www.ams.org/bull/2001-38-04/S0273-0979-01-00913-2/S0273-0979-01-00913-2.pdf
doi =
id =
. An English translation of Cartier (1998)
* Citation
first = Pierre
last = Deligne
author-link =
first2 =
last2 =
author2-link =
editor-last =
editor-first =
editor2-last =
editor2-first =
contribution = Quelques idées maîtresses de l'œuvre de A. Grothendieck
contribution-url = http://smf.emath.fr/Publications/SeminairesCongres/1998/3/pdf/smf_sem-cong_3_11-19.pdf
title = Matériaux pour l'histoire des mathématiques au XXe siècle - Actes du colloque à la mémoire de Jean Dieudonné (Nice 1996)
year = 1998
pages = 11–19
place =
publisher = Société Mathématique de France
url =
doi =
id =

*Citation
last =Jackson
first =Allyn
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Comme Appelé du Néant — As If Summoned from the Void: The Life of Alexandre Grothendieck I
journal = Notices of the American Mathematical Society
volume = 51
issue = 4
pages = 1038–1056
date = 2004
year =
url = http://www.ams.org/notices/200409/fea-grothendieck-part1.pdf
doi =
id =

*Citation
last =Jackson
first =Allyn
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Comme Appelé du Néant — As If Summoned from the Void: The Life of Alexandre Grothendieck II
journal = Notices of the American Mathematical Society
volume = 51
issue = 10
pages = 1196–1212
date = 2004
year =
url = http://www.ams.org/notices/200410/fea-grothendieck-part2.pdf
doi =
id =

*Citation
last =Rehmeyer
first =Julie
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Sensitivity to the Harmony of Things
journal = Science News
volume =
issue =
pages =
date = May 9, 2008
year =
url = http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/31898/title/Sensitivity_to_the_harmony_of_things
doi =
id =

*citation|last=Scharlau|first=Winfred|title=Wer ist Alexander Grothendieck?: Anarchie,Mathematik, Spiritualität|url=http://www.scharlau-online.de/ag_1.html Three-volume biography.
*Citation
last = Scharlau
first = Winifred
year = 2008
date = September 2008
title = Who is Alexander Grothendieck
periodical = Notices of the American Mathematical Society
volume = 55
issue = 8
pages = 930–941
place = Oberwolfach, Germany
publication-place = Providence, RI
publisher = American Mathematical Society
issn = 1088-9477
doi =
oclc = 34550461
url = http://www.ams.org/notices/200808/tx080800930p.pdf
accessdate = 2008-09-02

External links

*
*
* [http://www.math.jussieu.fr/~leila/grothendieckcircle/index.php Grothendieck Circle] , collection of mathematical and biographical information, photos, links to his writings
** [http://gavrilov.akatov.com/Grothendieck Grothendieck Circle discussion Forum]
* [http://www.ihes.fr Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques]
* [http://www.bangor.ac.uk/r.brown/pstacks.htm The origins of `Pursuing Stacks'] This is an account of how `Pursuing Stacks' was written in response to a correspondence in English with Ronnie Brown and Tim Porter at Bangor, which continued until 1991.
* [http://acm.math.spbu.ru/RS/ Récoltes et Semailles] in French.
* [http://kolmogorov.unex.es/~navarro/res/ Spanish translation] of "Récoltes et Semailles" et "Le Clef des Songes" and other Grothendieck's texts
* [http://www.ams.org/notices/200808/tx080800930p.pdf short bio] from Notices of the American Mathematical Society


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alexander Grothendieck — Alexander Grothendieck, 1970 Alexander Grothendieck (* 28. März 1928 in Berlin) ist ein deutschstämmiger französischer Mathematiker. Er ist Begründer einer eigenen Schule der algebraischen Geometrie, deren Entwicklung er in den 1960er Jahren… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Grothendieck — es un matemático judeo franco alemán, nacido en Berlín el 28 de marzo de 1928, que durante la segunda mitad del s. XX ha llevado a cabo un extraordinario proceso de unificación de la Aritmética, la Geometría Algebraica y la Topología, dando gran… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alexander Grothendieck — Alexandre Grothendieck Alexandre Grothendieck en 1970. Alexandre Grothendieck est un mathématicien apatride, ayant passé la majorité de sa vie en France, né le 28 mars 1928 à Berlin (Allemagne). Lauréat de la …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alexander Grothendieck — Alexandre Grothendieck. Alexander Grothendieck es un matemático apátrida nacido en Berlín el 28 de marzo de 1928, que durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX ha llevado a cabo un extraordinario proceso de unificación de la Aritmética, la Geometría… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Grothendieck — Alexander Grothendieck, 1970 Alexander Grothendieck (* 28. März 1928 in Berlin) ist ein deutsch französischer Mathematiker. Er ist Begründer einer eigenen Schule der algebraischen Geometrie, deren Entwicklung in den 1960er Jahren maßgeblich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Schapiro (1890–1942) — Alexander Schapiro (* 6. August 1890 in Nowosybkow, Russland; † 1942 im KZ Auschwitz Birkenau; auch Alexander Tanarow) war ein ukrainischer Anarchist jüdischer Abstammung und ein Publizist. Er ist der leibliche Vater des Mathematikers Alexander… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Grothendieck's relative point of view — is a heuristic applied in certain abstract mathematical situations, with a rough meaning of taking for consideration families of objects explicitly depending on parameters, as the basic field of study, rather than a single such object. It is… …   Wikipedia

  • Grothendieck — Alexandre Grothendieck Alexandre Grothendieck en 1970. Alexandre Grothendieck est un mathématicien apatride, ayant passé la majorité de sa vie en France, né le 28 mars 1928 à Berlin (Allemagne). Lauréat de la …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Grothendieck topology — In category theory, a branch of mathematics, a Grothendieck topology is a structure on a category C which makes the objects of C act like the open sets of a topological space. A category together with a choice of Grothendieck topology is called a …   Wikipedia

  • Grothendieck's Séminaire de géométrie algébrique — In mathematics, Alexander Grothendieck s Séminaire de géométrie algébrique was a unique phenomenon of research and publication outside of the main mathematical journals, reporting on the work done in 1960–1969 in the eponymous seminar held at the …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”