Category Archives: Obituaries

Heinz-Dieter Zeh 1932-2018

I was sorry to learn today of the death on April 15th of H. Dieter Zeh, one of the major figures responsible for improving our understanding of the physics involved in the measurement problem and related interpretational issues in quantum … Continue reading

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Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

Front-page on every news source today is the sad report that Stephen Hawking died yesterday at the age of 76. For the best description of his scientific accomplishments, I recommend the obituary in the Guardian written by his sometime collaborator … Continue reading

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Vladimir Voevodsky 1966-2017

I was very sorry to hear yesterday of the announcement from the IAS of the untimely death of Vladimir Voevodsky, at the age of 51. Last year I had the chance to meet Voevodsky and talk with him for a … Continue reading

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Bertram Kostant 1928-2017

I was sorry to just hear via a comment here about the recent death of Bert Kostant, at the age of 88. MIT has a story about him here. Kostant was a major figure in the field of representation theory, … Continue reading

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John Nash 1928-2015

I was sorry to hear this morning that John Nash and his wife Alicia died yesterday in a car crash (news story here). They were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike, heading home from the airport after a … Continue reading

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Alexander Grothendieck 1928-2014

I just heard that Alexander Grothendieck passed away today, at the age of 86, in Saint-Girons. For a French news story, see here. Grothendieck’s story was one of the great romantic stories of modern mathematics, and many would consider him … Continue reading

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Pierre van Baal 1955-2013

I only recently heard about the death late last year of Dutch particle theorist Pierre van Baal. Pierre was my office mate when we were both postdocs at Stony Brook during the mid-eighties, and he was one of the people … Continue reading

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Kenneth Wilson 1936-2013

Kenneth Wilson died this past weekend, in Maine at the age of 77. Some obituaries can be found here, here, here, and here. Wilson won the Nobel prize in 1982 for his work on critical phenomena and phase transitions, but … Continue reading

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Arthur Wightman 1922-2013

I just heard today that mathematical physicist Arthur Wightman passed away earlier this month, at the age of 90. Wightman was one of the leading figures in the field of rigorous quantum field theory, the effort to try and make … Continue reading

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Bill Thurston, 1946-2012

Bill Thurston passed away yesterday, at the age of 65, after a battle with melanoma. Thurston was for many years the dominant figure in the study of 3 dimensional topology and geometry, winning a Fields medal for this work in … Continue reading

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