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 while at the Heidelberg Leader’s Forum (which I wrote about here). He was a gracious and modest person, and it was fascinating to learn a bit about what he was trying to do, and his earlier experiences doing mathematics that had led him down this path. There was no indication at that time that he was ill, and I don’t know what led to his death.

Back in 2012 I wrote a blog post about him and his work, linking to various things that may be of interest if you’d like to know more about him. Among more recent sources of information, there’s a video interview here, a popular article here, lecture slides here, here and here, and a piece by Siobhan Roberts which covers some of the same topics that Voevodsky told me about when I met him last year.

Update: See here for remembrances of Voevodsky on the HoTT mailing list.

Update: There will be a gathering at the IAS to remember Voevodsky this Sunday, a funeral service and conference in Moscow December 27-28, and a conference in Princeton September 29-30, 2018. More information available here.

Update: A longer obituary of Voevodsky, from the IAS.

Update: The New York Times has an obituary here. Video of the IAS gathering is available here. Especially informative and touching is the talk given there by his ex-wife Nadia Shalaby, who gave a detailed look at his life, mathematical and personal, including a frank discussion of his problems with mental illness, depression and sometimes self-destructive ways of dealing with this. Also see this story at Quanta, where Shalaby gives the cause of his death as an aneurysm.

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6 Responses to Vladimir Voevodsky 1966-2017

  1. The first slides link is accidentally a relative link, so is pointing to something in your directory tree whose tail is an IAS url.

  2. Peter Woit says:

    David Roberts,
    Thanks, fixed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed his wildlife photography that he linked in one interview.

  4. kris says:

    It is really sad to know that he has passed away. I had met him briefly at the IAS, at the time he was very interested in biology as well, and appeared to be planning to do some work in that direction as well. He came across as a genuinely curious and modest person, especially given his achievements. He was also a very good photographer, and some of the photos exhibited there from his collection were really very nice.

  5. Pingback: Décès de Vladimir Voevodsky | Coup d'Pouce

  6. Nick says:

    In 2014 I learned as a computer science student about Homotopy Type Theory, after my first year. At the time, I did not know about the basic things in this field, like lambda calculus and category theory.

    But I felt was a kind of enthousiasm, inspiritation to learn about this field and about mathematics in general.

    Very sorry to hear this. It’s very sad to think what he could accomplish given more time.

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