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Friedrich Hirzebruch

Friedrich Ernst Peter Hirzebruch (born 17 October 1927) is a German mathematician, working in the fields of topology, complex manifolds and algebraic geometry, and a leading figure in his generation.


He was born in Hamm, Westphalia. He studied at the University of Münster from 1945–1950, with one year at ETH Zürich. He then had a position at Erlangen, followed by the years 1952–54 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. After one year at Princeton University 1955–56, he was made a professor at the University of Bonn, where he remained, becoming director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in 1981. More than 300 people participated in the event in ceremony of his 80th birthday at Bonn in 2007.

The Hirzebruch–Riemann–Roch theorem (1954) for complex manifolds was a major advance and quickly became part of the mainstream developments around the classical Riemann–Roch theorem; it was also a precursor of the Atiyah–Singer index theorem. Hirzebruch's book Neue topologische Methoden in der algebraischen Geometrie (1956) was a basic text for the 'new methods' of sheaf theory, in complex algebraic geometry. He went on to write the foundational papers on topological K-theory with Michael Atiyah, and collaborate with Armand Borel on the theory of characteristic classes. In his later work he provided a detailed theory of Hilbert modular surfaces, working with Don Zagier.

Hirzebruch is a foreign member of numerous academies and societies, including the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the French Academy of Sciences. In 1980/81 he delivered the first Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Israel.


Amongst many other honors, Hirzebruch was awarded a Wolf Prize in Mathematics in 1988, a Lobachevsky Medal in 1989.

The government of Japan awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1996.[1]

Hirzebruch won an Einstein Medal in 1999, and received the Cantor medal in 2004.

See also

* Atiyah–Hirzebruch spectral sequence
* Hirzebruch signature theorem
* Hirzebruch surface


1. ^ L'Harmattan web site (in French), Order with gold and silver rays

* Europa Publications (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. ISBN 978-1857432176. . Retrieved 24 April 2010.

External links

* Friedrich Hirzebruch at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* MacTutor entry for Hirzebruch


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