Michael Francis Atiyah

Michael Francis Atiyah

English mathematician.
Date of Birth: 22.04.1929
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Michael Francis Atiyah
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Contributions to Mathematics
  4. Contributions to Mathematical Physics
  5. Notable Achievements and Honors

Biography of Michael Francis Atiyah

Early Life and Education

Michael Francis Atiyah, an English mathematician, was born into a family of a Lebanese writer, Edward Atiyah, and a Scottish mother. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge University, where he was a student of W. Hodge.

Contributions to Mathematics

Atiyah's main works were in the field of algebra (in representation theory), algebraic geometry, and particularly algebraic topology. Under the influence of A. Grothendieck's works and in collaboration with F. Hirzebruch, Atiyah created K-theory, abandoning cohomology as the main homotopy invariant and replacing it with the so-called K-functor. Using K-theory, Atiyah, along with R. Bott, proved the Atiyah-Bott fixed point theorem and, together with I. Singer, the index theorem for elliptic operators, which solved a problem posed by I. M. Gelfand in the early 1950s. Atiyah and Bott generalized classical results of I. G. Petrovsky on hyperbolic partial differential equations.

Contributions to Mathematical Physics

Atiyah's important works also include contributions to mathematical physics, specifically in the field of gauge fields.

Notable Achievements and Honors

Among his notable students are S. Donaldson and N. Hitchin. Atiyah served as the President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs from 1997 to 2002. He was an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1969) and a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1994) and the Academy of Sciences of Georgia (1996). Atiyah was a Knight Bachelor of the British Order of Merit. He received the Fields Medal in 1966 and the Abel Prize in 2004, together with I. Singer.