**Laurent Schwartz** was a French mathematician who is best known for his work in the theory of distributions.

- When he was eleven years old, Laurent contracted polio.
- At the lycée he attended in Paris, Schwartz excelled at both mathematics and the classical languages of Greek and Latin.
- This, together with the same opinions from his teachers at the lycée, led Schwartz to decide that he would drop Latin, study both mathematics and philosophy and take the baccalaureate in both subjects.
- Schwartz entered the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1934 where he was taught by some of the leading mathematicians in the world.
- Schwartz became a member of the Caisse National des Sciences (which later became the CNRS) which supported him until the end of 1942.
- Schwartz received mathematical advice from Georges Valiron who was based in Paris.
- He adopted a false identity, calling himself Laurent-Marie Sélimartin, and only by a combination of skill and good luck did he escape detection.
- Schwartz spent the academic year 1944-45 lecturing at the Faculty of Science at Grenoble before moving to Nancy where, on the recommendation of Jean Delsarte and Jean Dieudonné, he became a professor in the Faculty of Science.
- In 1953 Schwartz returned to Paris where he became professor, holding this position until 1959.
- Schwartz was tireless in his calls for justice, and organised a presentation of the young man's thesis in his absence.
- To which Schwartz replied that since the Army commanded by Messmer had sanctioned torture and promoted torturers, such remarks were absurd.
- The outstanding contribution to mathematics which Schwartz made in the late 1940s was his work in the theory of distributions.
- Schwartz's development of the theory of distributions put methods of this type onto a sound basis, and greatly extended their range of application, providing powerful tools for applications in numerous areas.
- The lectures he gave in Vancouver in 1949 became the basis for Schwartz's two-volume treatise Théorie des distributions (1950, 1951).
- Schwartz's idea (in 1947) was to give a unified interpretation of all the generalized functions that had infiltrated analysis as (continuous) linear functionals on the space Cç of infinitely differentiable functions vanishing outside compact sets.
- Schwartz's ideas can be applied to many other spaces of test-functions beside Cç, as he himself and others have shown ...
- Harald Bohr presented a Fields Medal to Schwartz at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Harvard on 30 August 1950 for his work on the theory of distributions.
- Schwartz has received a long list of prizes, medals and honours in addition to the Fields Medal.
- Among several other books which Schwartz has written, we mention Méthodes mathématiques pour les sciences physiques Ⓣ(Mathematical methods for the physical sciences) (1961).
- The whole book is written in a concise and lucid style which we have learnt to associate with the name of Professor Schwartz.

Born 5 March 1915, Paris, France. Died 4 July 2002, Paris, France.

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Bourbaki, Prize Fields Medal

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive