Ronald Graham

All you really need to know about the mathematician Ronald Graham is that, with his 80th birthday fast approaching in October, he bought a ‘hoverboard’ — a two-wheel mini-scooter, with electronic motors operated by a pressure plate under each foot. “I couldn’t resist,” says Graham, who adds that he only fell once when he started […]

Mikhail Gromov

After courting Misha Gromov for 18 months, there I finally stood on a perfect Paris day at the Odéon metro station in the heart of the Left Bank, wondering whether the man might not, in the end, stand me up. Gromov splits his time between France’s Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques and New York University’s […]

John Conway

John Horton Conway, a wildly prolific and highly decorated fellow of the Royal Society with an Erdös number of one (meaning that he collaborated with the legendary mathematician Paul Erdös), has over the course of his career made a name for himself by means of a rather suspect modus operandi. While most high-powered mathematicians shut […]

Margaret Wright

Working at AT&T Bell Labs in the early 1990s, the very earliest days of Wi-Fi, one of Margaret Wright’s favorite projects was called WiSE — a “wireless system engineering” software package that solved the problem of how to optimize a building’s indoor base station antenna positions, factoring in the location and composition of 1,500 or […]

Alfred Aho

Alfred Aho was just digging out from the end-of-semester overload, wrapping up his legendary course, Programming Languages and Translators. “It’s my favorite course, and this is the text we use,” Aho said, reaching over to a bookcase in his office at Columbia University. He procured the “purple dragon book” — the latest edition of his […]

László Lovász

Among the (sometimes) competitive community of mathematicians who (sometimes) happily self-identify as strange, László Lovász stands out. That’s because the only thing odd about Lovász, his colleagues say, is that he is normal and nice. Lovász is a universally loved mathematician and combinatorialist — a professor at Eötvös Loránd University in his native Hungary and the recipient of […]

László Lovász

Among the (sometimes) competitive community of mathematicians who (sometimes) happily self-identify as strange, László Lovász stands out. That’s because the only thing odd about Lovász, his colleagues say, is that he is normal and nice. Lovász is a universally loved mathematician and combinatorialist — a professor at Eötvös Loránd University in his native Hungary and […]

Cathleen Morawetz

New York, N.Y. — In her office at New York University’s Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, sitting on a sofa piled with mail, journals, notepads and her telephone, Cathleen Morawetz spoke with pleasure of both her President’s Medal and her first great-grandchild. Of the former, awarded by President Clinton in 1998 to honor her “pioneering […]

Cathleen Morawetz

New York, N.Y. — In her office at New York University’s Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, sitting on a sofa piled with mail, journals, notepads and her telephone, Cathleen Morawetz spoke with pleasure of both her President’s Medal and her first great-grandchild. Of the former, awarded by President Clinton in 1998 to honor her “pioneering […]

Pierre Deligne

A profile of Pierre Deligne’s life and career in mathematics. He is best known for work he did nearly 40 years ago on the famous conjectures posed by André Weil, the de facto leader of Bourbaki, a secret society of French mathematicians that propagated a comprehensive overhaul and rigorous treatment of modern mathematics based on set theory.

Pierre Deligne

When he wants to get mathematics done, IAS emeritus professor Pierre Deligne takes to his bed. A big cushion at his back, legs outstretched, reclining atop the covers, he is tucked in by a quilt of papers spread all around. His office, meanwhile, serves as a staging ground of sorts. Conveniently located just off the […]