Category Archives: Obituaries

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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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

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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