We are saddened by news of the death, at 86, of Alexandre Grothendieck the pre-eminent French mathematician, founder of the modern theory of algebraic geometry.
A lifelong pacifist, he withdrew from major French universities upon uncovering their military funding. In the 1980s he wrote La Clef des Songes in which he describes how contemplating the origin of dreams led him to conclude that there is a God.
Half-Jewish, his father was murdered at Auschwitz. He discovered mathematics while hidden in a Protestant school in France. French media are describing him as ‘the greatest mathematician of the 20th century.’
Passionate about music, and smitten by the late Beethoven quartets, Grothendieck likened his mathematical leaps to musical improvisation.
May he find a perfect peace.