|Born||May 19, 1927|
|Died||September 12, 2005 78) (aged|
|Education|| California Institute of Technology (B.A.) |
Princeton University (Ph.D.)
|Known for||Work in number theory|
|Awards|| Leroy P. Steele Prize (1999) |
Cole Prize (1960)
|Institutions|| University of Chicago |
|Thesis||On Quasi Algebraic Closure (1951)|
|Doctoral advisor||Emil Artin|
|Doctoral students|| Minhyong Kim |
Serge Lang (French: [lɑ̃ɡ] ; May 19, 1927 – September 12, 2005) was a French-American mathematician and activist who taught at Yale University for most of his career. He is known for his work in number theory and for his mathematics textbooks, including the influential Algebra. He received the Frank Nelson Cole Prize in 1960 and was a member of the Bourbaki group.
As an activist, Lang campaigned against the Vietnam War, and also successfully fought against the nomination of the political scientist Samuel P. Huntington to the National Academies of Science. Later in his life, Lang was an HIV/AIDS denialist. He claimed that HIV had not been proven to cause AIDS and protested Yale's research into HIV/AIDS.
Lang was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, close to Paris, in 1927. He had a twin brother who became a basketball coach and a sister who became an actress.Lang moved with his family to California as a teenager, where he graduated in 1943 from Beverly Hills High School. He subsequently graduated with an A.B. from the California Institute of Technology in 1946. He then received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1951. He held faculty positions at the University of Chicago, Columbia University (from 1955, leaving in 1971 in a dispute), and Yale University.
Lang studied at Princeton University, writing his thesis titled "On quasi algebraic closure" under the supervision of Emil Artin,and then worked on the geometric analogues of class field theory and diophantine geometry. Later he moved into diophantine approximation and transcendental number theory, proving the Schneider–Lang theorem. A break in research while he was involved in trying to meet 1960s student activism halfway caused him (by his own description) difficulties in picking up the threads afterwards. He wrote on modular forms and modular units, the idea of a 'distribution' on a profinite group, and value distribution theory. He made a number of conjectures in diophantine geometry: Mordell–Lang conjecture, Bombieri–Lang conjecture, Lang–Trotter conjecture, and the Lang conjecture on analytically hyperbolic varieties. He introduced the Lang map, the Katz–Lang finiteness theorem, and the Lang–Steinberg theorem (cf. Lang's theorem) in algebraic groups.
Lang was a prolific writer of mathematical texts, often completing one on his summer vacation. Most are at the graduate level. He wrote calculus texts and also prepared a book on group cohomology for Bourbaki. Lang's Algebra, a graduate-level introduction to abstract algebra, was a highly influential text that ran through numerous updated editions. His Steele prize citation stated, "Lang's Algebra changed the way graduate algebra is taught...It has affected all subsequent graduate-level algebra books." It contained ideas of his teacher, Artin; some of the most interesting passages in Algebraic Number Theory also reflect Artin's influence and ideas that might otherwise not have been published in that or any form.
Lang was noted for his eagerness for contact with students. He was described as a passionate teacher who would throw chalk at students who he believed were not paying attention. One of his colleagues recalled: "He would rant and rave in front of his students. He would say, 'Our two aims are truth and clarity, and to achieve these I will shout in class.'" 285–325).He won a Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition (1999) from the American Mathematical Society. In 1960, he won the sixth Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Algebra for his paper "Unramified class field theory over function fields in several variables" ( Annals of Mathematics , Series 2, volume 64 (1956), pp.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(May 2016)
Lang spent much of his professional time engaged in political activism. He was a staunch socialist and active in opposition to the Vietnam War, volunteering for the 1966 anti-war campaign of Robert Scheer (the subject of his book The Scheer Campaign).[ citation needed ] Lang later quit his position at Columbia in 1971 in protest over the university's treatment of anti-war protesters.
Lang engaged in several efforts to challenge anyone he believed was spreading misinformation or misusing science or mathematics to further their own goals. He attacked the 1977 Survey of the American Professoriate, an opinion questionnaire that Seymour Martin Lipset and E. C. Ladd had sent to thousands of college professors in the United States, accusing it of containing numerous biased and loaded questions.This led to a public and highly acrimonious conflict.
In 1986, Lang mounted what the New York Times described as a "one-man challenge" against the nomination of political scientist Samuel P. Huntington to the National Academy of Sciences.Lang described Huntington's research, in particular his use of mathematical equations to demonstrate that South Africa was a "satisfied society", as "pseudoscience", arguing that it gave "the illusion of science without any of its substance." Despite support for Huntington from the Academy's social and behavioral scientists, Lang's challenge was successful, and Huntington was twice rejected for Academy membership. Huntington's supporters argued that Lang's opposition was political rather than scientific in nature. Lang's detailed description of these events, "Academia, Journalism, and Politics: A Case Study: The Huntington Case", occupies the first 222 pages of his 1998 book Challenges.
Lang kept his political correspondence and related documentation in extensive "files". He would send letters or publish articles, wait for responses, engage the writers in further correspondence, collect all these writings together and point out what he considered contradictions. He often mailed these files to people he considered important; some of them were also published in his books Challenges ( ISBN 0-387-94861-9) and The File ( ISBN 0-387-90607-X). His extensive file criticizing Nobel laureate David Baltimore was published in the journal Ethics and Behaviour in January 1993. Lang fought the decision by Yale University to hire Daniel Kevles, a historian of science, because Lang disagreed with Kevles' analysis in The Baltimore Case.
Lang's most controversial political stance was as an HIV/AIDS denialist.He maintained that the prevailing scientific consensus that HIV causes AIDS had not been backed up by reliable scientific research, yet for political and commercial reasons further research questioning the current point of view was suppressed. In public he was very outspoken about this point and a portion of Challenges is devoted to this issue.
Claude Chevalley was a French mathematician who made important contributions to number theory, algebraic geometry, class field theory, finite group theory and the theory of algebraic groups. He was a founding member of the Bourbaki group.
Frank Morley was a leading mathematician, known mostly for his teaching and research in the fields of algebra and geometry. Among his mathematical accomplishments was the discovery and proof of the celebrated Morley's trisector theorem in elementary plane geometry. He led 50 Ph.D.'s to their degrees, and was said to be:
Oswald Veblen was an American mathematician, geometer and topologist, whose work found application in atomic physics and the theory of relativity. He proved the Jordan curve theorem in 1905; while this was long considered the first rigorous proof of the theorem, many now also consider Camille Jordan's original proof rigorous.
Harold Calvin Marston Morse was an American mathematician best known for his work on the calculus of variations in the large, a subject where he introduced the technique of differential topology now known as Morse theory. The Morse–Palais lemma, one of the key results in Morse theory, is named after him, as is the Thue–Morse sequence, an infinite binary sequence with many applications. In 1933 he was awarded the Bôcher Memorial Prize for his work in mathematical analysis.
Harold Davenport FRS was an English mathematician, known for his extensive work in number theory.
Jean Alexandre Eugène Dieudonné was a French mathematician, notable for research in abstract algebra, algebraic geometry, and functional analysis, for close involvement with the Nicolas Bourbaki pseudonymous group and the Éléments de géométrie algébrique project of Alexander Grothendieck, and as a historian of mathematics, particularly in the fields of functional analysis and algebraic topology. His work on the classical groups, and on formal groups, introducing what now are called Dieudonné modules, had a major effect on those fields.
John William Scott "Ian" Cassels, FRS was a British mathematician.
Edward Charles "Ted" Titchmarsh was a leading British mathematician.
Francis Joseph Murray was a mathematician, known for his foundational work on functional analysis, and what subsequently became known as von Neumann algebras. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 1936. He taught at Duke University.
Leonard Eugene Dickson was an American mathematician. He was one of the first American researchers in abstract algebra, in particular the theory of finite fields and classical groups, and is also remembered for a three-volume history of number theory, History of the Theory of Numbers.
Luther Pfahler Eisenhart was an American mathematician, best known today for his contributions to semi-Riemannian geometry.
Arthur Herbert Copeland was an American mathematician. He graduated from Harvard University in 1926 and taught at Rice University and the University of Michigan. His main interest was in the foundations of probability.
Nathan Jacobson was an American mathematician.
Pierre Samuel was a French mathematician, known for his work in commutative algebra and its applications to algebraic geometry. The two-volume work Commutative Algebra that he wrote with Oscar Zariski is a classic. Other books of his covered projective geometry and algebraic number theory.
Phillip Augustus Griffiths IV is an American mathematician, known for his work in the field of geometry, and in particular for the complex manifold approach to algebraic geometry. He was a major developer in particular of the theory of variation of Hodge structure in Hodge theory and moduli theory. He also worked on partial differential equations, coauthored with Shiing-Shen Chern, Robert Bryant and Robert Gardner on Exterior Differential Systems.
Sigurdur Helgason is an Icelandic mathematician whose research has been devoted to the geometry and analysis on symmetric spaces. In particular he has used new integral geometric methods to establish fundamental existence theorems for differential equations on symmetric spaces as well as some new results on the representations of their isometry groups. He also introduced a Fourier transform on these spaces and proved the principal theorems for this transform, the inversion formula, the Plancherel theorem and the analog of the Paley–Wiener theorem.
Georg Scheffers was a German mathematician specializing in differential geometry. He was born on 21 November 1866 in the village of Altendorf near Holzminden. Scheffers began his university career at the University of Leipzig where he studied with Felix Klein and Sophus Lie. Scheffers was a coauthor with Lie for three of the earliest expressions of Lie theory:
Lynn Harold Loomis was an American mathematician working on analysis. Together with Hassler Whitney, he discovered the Loomis–Whitney inequality.
Irwin Kra is an American mathematician, who works on the function theory in complex analysis.
William Woolsey Johnson (1841–1927) was an American mathematician, who was one of the founders of the American Mathematical Society.
Lang descended into HIV/AIDS denialism and protested what he saw as the unjust treatment of Duesberg. He conducted a flawed analysis of Duesberg's grant failings and called into question the entire NIH review process. He also caused a bit of commotion on the Yale campus when AIDS speakers visited. He protested the appointment of former Global AIDS Program Director at the World Health Organization Michael Merson as Yale's Dean of Public Health and launched a series of letter writing campaigns to Yale administrators about the role the university was playing in the global AIDS conspiracy.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Serge Lang|