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# Category Archives: Obituaries

## 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

Posted in Obituaries
27 Comments

## 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

Posted in Obituaries
2 Comments

## 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

Posted in Obituaries
17 Comments

## 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

Posted in Obituaries
38 Comments

## 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

Posted in Obituaries
15 Comments

## Friedrich Hirzebruch 1927-2012

The German mathematician Friedrich (Fritz) Hirzebruch passed away a couple days ago, at the age of 84. Hirzebruch was perhaps the most important mathematician in the Germany of the postwar period, responsible for the founding of the Max Planck Institute … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries
10 Comments

## John Wheeler 1911-2008

News of the death of John Wheeler came yesterday, and many people have already written detailed, touching and informative pieces about the man, his life and scientific achievements. See for example here, here, and here. With Wheeler gone, physics loses … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries
21 Comments

## Sidney Coleman 1937-2007

I just learned today the sad news of the death of Sidney Coleman, yesterday at the age of seventy. Coleman had been in quite poor health in recent years. I wrote about him here back in 2005, after attending a … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries
25 Comments

## Yuval Ne’eman 1925-2006

Yuval Ne’eman died yesterday, from a brain hemorrhage caused by a recent fall. Science magazine has a story about this. Together with Murray Gell-Mann, in 1961 Ne’eman co-discovered the SU(3) classification of strongly interacting particles. At the time he was … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries
13 Comments

## George Mackey 1916-2006

It was sad to see an announcement today on the Harvard math department web-site of the death earlier this week of emeritus Harvard professor George Mackey. Mackey’s mathematical work is dear to my heart, since its central concern is the … Continue reading

Posted in Obituaries
9 Comments