Person: Thomason, Robert Wayne
Robert Thomason was an American mathematician who worked on algebraic K-theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After graduating with his doctorate in June 1977 Thomason was appointed as Moore instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- This was a two year appointment and Thomason remained there until he took up a three year post as Dickson assistant professor at the University of Chicago in 1979.
- Things did not go smoothly for Thomason, however, at the University of Chicago.
- While working on conjectures of Quillen-Lichtenbaum connecting K-theory to Étale cohomology Thomason produced what was first thought to be a remarkable proof.
- Thomason began to feel uncomfortable about the scepticism expressed by others.
- During the two years after Thomason resigned from Chicago he spent some time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one year at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
- Thomason's next post was at Johns Hopkins University where he was appointed in 1983.
- During his time at Johns Hopkins University, Thomason was awarded a Sloan Fellowship which enabled him to spend the year 1987 at Rutgers University.
- Thomason spent three years working on the problems of Grothendieck referred to above.
- The importance of this work was recognised when Thomason was chosen to give an address at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Kyoto in 1990.
- In October 1989 Thomason was appointed to a post in Max Karoubi's laboratory at the University of Paris VII.
- This made going to restaurants with Bob an awkward affair, because he would not eat something until he was sure it had no nutritional content.
- Thomason first important results concerned a proof that all infinite loop space machines produce equivalent output.
- Thomason then developed material which he had studied for his doctorate considering the homotopy theory of the category of small categories and the homotopy theory of the category of small symmetric monoidal categories.
- We have already mentioned Thomason's results on the conjectures of Quillen-Lichtenbaum connecting K-theory to étale cohomology which he achieved during 1980-83.
- Thomason's work during the next three years was on equivariant algebraic K-theory.
- Thomason solved a problem in 1995 which had been posed by Grothendieck.
- Few have had the simultaneous grasp of topology, algebraic geometry and K-theory that Thomason did.
Born 5 November 1952, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Died 5 November 1995, Paris, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
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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