Person: Singer, Isadore Manuel
Isadore Singer was an American mathematician best known for the Atiyah-Singer index theorem which had great influence in unifying mathematics and physics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Isadore enjoyed both science and reading while at school but when he entered the University of Michigan in September 1941 he decided to study physics rather than English literature.
- After initial training, Singer was sent to the Philippines to run a Signal Corps school.
- Singer entered the University of Chicago in January 1947, still intending to undertake research in physics.
- After the award of his doctorate, Singer was appointed C L E Moore Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950.
- In 1953 Kaplansky asked Singer what derivations the algebra of continuous complex-valued functions on a compact Hausdorff space possessed.
- Singer had answered the question by the following day, showing the answer was 0, and this led to considerable work on the topic including further work by Singer, jointly with J Wermer, published in the paper Derivations on commutative normed algebras (1955) in which they showed that all bounded derivations on a semisimple commutative normed algebra are 0.
- Singer returned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954 where he was appointed as an Assistant Professor.
- In 1977 Singer went to the University of California at Berkeley where he spent two years as a Visiting Professor.
- Moreover, in addition to his work in pure mathematics, Singer has laboured for two decades to bring together mathematicians and theoretical physicists.
- This renaissance of serious interaction between mathematicians and physicists, which dates from the mid-1970s, has had a dramatic effect on mathematics, and Singer has played a major role in this development.
- Singer has been honoured with election to the National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- Among the many awards which Singer has received, in addition to the Steele Prize, we mention the Bôcher Prize Memorial Prize from the American Mathematical Society (1969), the Eugene Wigner Medal (1988), the National Medal of Science (1983), the Award for Distinguished Public Service from the American Mathematical Society (1992), the Abel Prize (2004), and the James Rhyne Killian Faculty Achievement Award (2005).
- Singer was vice president of the American Mathematical Society during 1970-72.
- Teaching has also played a large role in Singer's life.
- As to interests outside mathematics, Singer list literature, hiking and tennis.
Born 3 May 1924, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Died 11 February 2021, Boxborough, Massachusetts, USA.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive