Thursday, March 27, 2008

French Mathematician Wins Abel Prize

The French mathematician Jacques Tits will share the Abel Prize with an American. Tits is being honored for his work in algebra. He is the inventor of the concept of a "Tits building," an algebraic structure made up of simpler structures called, appropriately enough, "apartments." Although I have a Ph.D. in mathematics from long ago, I'm afraid my expertise is out of date. I am not familiar with the theory of buildings. But it is good to see French mathematics honored. In my day the French were among the world leaders in several branches of mathematics, and their work was distinguished by profound insight coupled with the utmost elegance in form and expression. These qualities were among the things that first attracted my attention to France.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, it is those qualities that lead to many, many young French mathematicians being head-hunted for high-end posts at financial institutions around the globe. I believe a Frenchman also recently won one of the Fields Medals but I might be mistaken...