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Jean Leray (7 November 1906 – 10 November 1998) was a French mathematician, who worked on both partial differential equations and algebraic topology.

He was born in Nantes. He studied at École Normale Supérieure from 1926 to 1929. He received his Ph.D. in 1933. Leray wrote an important paper that founded the study of weak solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations.[1] From 1938 to 1939 he was professor at the University of Nancy. He did not join the Bourbaki group, although he was close with its founders.

His main work in topology was carried out while he was in a prisoner of war camp in Edelbach, Austria from 1940 to 1945. He concealed his expertise on differential equations, fearing that its connections with applied mathematics could lead him to be asked to do war work.

Leray's work of this period proved seminal. It originated, together, the ideas of spectral sequence and sheaf.[2] These were subsequently developed by many others,[3] each separately becoming an important tool in homological algebra.

He returned to work on partial differential equations from about 1950.

He was professor at the University of Paris from 1945 to 1947, and then at the Collège de France until 1978.

He was awarded the Malaxa Prize (Romania, 1938), the Grand Prix in mathematical sciences (French Academy of Sciences, 1940), the Feltrinelli Prize (Accademia dei Lincei, 1971), the Wolf Prize in Mathematics (Israel, 1979), and the Lomonosov Gold Medal (Moscow, 1988).

See also

* Leray spectral sequence
* Leray cover
* Leray's theorem
* Leray-Hirsch theorem


1. ^ Leray, J. (1934). "Sur le mouvement d'un liquide visqueux emplissant l'espace". Acta Mathematica 63: 193-248. http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~masdh/Leray.pdf.
2. ^ Dieudonné, Jean (1989). A history of algebraic and differential topology 1900-1960. Birkhäuser. p. 123–141. ISBN 081763388X.
3. ^ Miller, Haynes (2000). "Leray in Oflag XVIIA: The origins of sheaf theory, sheaf cohomology, and spectral sequences" (PS). http://www-math.mit.edu/~hrm/papers/ss.ps.

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Leray, Jean", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Leray.html .
* Jean Leray at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* "Jean Leray (1906-1998)", by Armand Borel, Gennadi M. Henkin, and Peter D. Lax, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 47, no. 3, March 2000.
* Jean Leray Short biography


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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