Friday, October 11, 2019

Sir Michael Atiyah, a Knight Mathematician. A Tribute to Michael Atiyah, an Inspiration and a Friend. By Alain Connes and Joseph Kouneiher

Sir Michael Atiyah was considered one of the world’s foremost mathematicians. He is best known for his work in algebraic topology and the codevelopment of a branch of mathematics called topological 𝐾-theory, together with the Atiyah–Singer index theorem, for which he received the Fields Medal (1966). He also received the Abel Prize (2004) along with Isadore M. Singer for their discovery and proof of the index theorem, bringing together topology, geometry, and analysis, and for their outstanding role in building new bridges between mathematics and theoretical physics. Indeed, his work has helped theoretical physicists to advance their understanding of quantum field theory and general relativity. (Continued here.)

1 comment:

AC said...

Thanks Masoud for posting our tribute to Michael Atiyah. I had also tried, shortly after his death, to pay tribute to his great mind in another way by showing in a short paper arXiv:1901.10761 "On an idea of Michael Atiyah" the pertinence of his recent idea on iteration of the exterior power in the representation rings of finite groups of odd order. The great surprise there was to find that, provided one chooses carefully the initial data, the iteration process is, in the simplest example of a non-abelian group of odd order, converging to a non-trivial character. I was also delighted to find three connections with the work of Euler and how, motivated by a question of Condorcet, Euler iterated the exponential map and found deep relations with the Lambert function. Of course it is natural to remain skeptic on the chances to reprove the theorem of Feit-Thompson along these lines, but while some amount of it can be useful, skepticism is a very negative force in mathematics and Michael' attitude was a marvelous antidote. We miss him badly.