Person: Kodaira, Kunihiko
Kunihiko Kodaira was a Japanese mathematician who won a Fields Medal for his work in algebraic geometry.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Kunihiko entered elementary school in 1921 but these were not easy years for the young boy.
- When she produced puppies, Kunihiko hid them and the dog was upset searching until he returned them to her.
- However, when he hid a couple of the puppies the dog seemed happy so the ten year old Kunihiko decided that "dogs can't count".
- This toy made Kunihiko decide at a young age that he wanted to be an engineer.
- Kodaira completed his primary education in 1927 and entered the middle school.
- When he was fifteen years old, Kodaira began to learn to play the piano and had a student from Tokyo University, Mr Nakajima, as his piano teacher.
- After middle school, Kodaira studied at the First High School where he was taught by Hideo Aramata (1905-1947) who was an excellent mathematician writing books on matrices and determinants as well as interesting papers on the zeta-function.
- Kodaira saw how much Aramata enjoyed mathematics and realised that it was the subject for him.
- In 1935 Kodaira began his university education at the University of Tokyo.
- Kodaira came to the blackboard and wrote his proof in a few lines without speaking any word.
- In 1936-37 Kodaira attended Iyanaga's course on modern analysis which was based on the ideas of von Neumann.
- Kodaira graduated from the University of Tokyo in March 1938 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics.
- Tazuku Nakajima organised concerts and Kodaira accompanied the violinists on the piano.
- Kodaira had been appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Physics of the Imperial University of Tokyo in April 1941 and then as an Associate professor in the Department of Mathematics of Tokyo Bunri University in April 1942.
- Rather amazingly, Kodaira was able to quickly restart his seminar and began again producing remarkable results.
- At this time Kodaira was interested in topology, Hilbert spaces, Haar measure, Lie groups and almost periodic functions.
- Despite this Kodaira was able to obtain papers to read of mathematical developments and he was most influenced by reading the works of Weyl, Stone, von Neumann, Hodge, Weil and Zariski.
- Kodaira was awarded his doctorate from the University of Tokyo in April 1949 for his thesis Harmonic Fields in Riemannian Manifolds and published it in an 80-page paper in the Annals of Mathematics in 1949.
- Kodaira accepted Weyl's invitation and, from September 1949, he spent a year as a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
- Sheaf theory fitted with Hodge theory, so it was natural that Kodaira should have been well placed to exploit the new developments.
- This work led to Kodaira being nominated for a Fields Medal in 1954.
- Kodaira delivered his lecture 'Some results in the transcendental theory of algebraic varieties' to the Congress on 3 September.
- In 1965 Kodaira left Johns Hopkins to take up the chair of mathematics at Stanford University.
- Donald Spencer was so angry that Princeton had not made an attempt to keep Kodaira on the faculty there, that he resigned from Princeton and moved to Stanford to be with Kodaira.
- While at Stanford Kodaira gave an introduction to the study of abstract complex analytic manifolds and his course was written up as the book Complex manifolds (1971).
- Kodaira's influence was so pronounced that one could say that he established a new school of Japanese algebraic geometers.
- The Faculty of Science had no such agreement with Kodaira and elected him Dean much against his wishes.
- Kodaira's work covers many topics.
- Another important area of Kodaira's work was to apply sheaves to algebraic geometry.
- Kodaira received many honours for his outstanding research.
- Professor Kunihikio Kodaira made a profound study of harmonic integrals with incisive, important applications to algebraic and complex geometry.
- Seiko Kodaira had to push the papers away when preparing the meal.
Born 16 March 1915, Tokyo, Japan. Died 26 July 1997, Kofu, Japan.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Prize Fields Medal, Origin Japan, Prize Wolf
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive