Grothendieck, eccentric maths genius, dies in France

14th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Alexander Grothendieck, one of the great eccentric geniuses of 20th century mathematics, has died in France at the age of 86, a hospital source said on Friday.

The maths master, who reached the very pinnacle of his profession before abandoning the discipline and descending into madness, died on Thursday, a hospital in the town of Saint-Girons in southwestern France said, without giving further details.

Born in 1928 in Berlin to a Russian anarchist father and a journalist mother, Grothendieck lived most of his life in France where he did groundbreaking work on algebra and geometry that won him the Fields medal, known as the Nobel prize of the maths world, in 1966.

But by the 1970s, he had all but abandoned his research, quitting the prestigious College de France and preferring to focus on anti-war activism.

In later years, he descended into religious mania, living out his retirement in a tiny village in the Pyrenees where he jealously guarded his privacy.

© 2014 AFP

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