Georges de Rham: 1901–1990
Georges de Rham 1901-1990
Georges de Rham died on October 9, 1990 in Lausanne, a city he loved and which had been his home since the early thirties. He was eighty-nine. The great passions of de Rham’s life were mathematics and moumaineering, and he excelled in both of them with a characteristic charm and modesty.
In some sense the famous theorem that bears his name dominated his mathematical life. as indeed it dominates so much of the mathematical life of this whole century. When I met de Rham in 1949 at the Institute in Princeton he was lecturing on the Hodge theory in the context of his “currents”. These are the natural extensions to manifolds of the distributions which had been introduced a few years earlier by Laurent Schwanz. and of course it is only in this extended setting that both the de Rham theorem and the Hodge theory become especially complete. The original theorem of de Rham was most probably believed to be true by Poincare and was certainly conjectured (and even used!)...
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