IMU-Net 30b: Special issue in memory of Henri Cartan (1904-2008)
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IMU-Net 30b: August 2008

Special issue in memory of Henri Cartan (1904-2008)

The world has lost one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth
century. Henri Cartan, a legendary figure in mathematics, died in
Paris on 13 August, at the age of 104 years.

The son of the great mathematician Elie Cartan, his contributions to
mathematics were fundamental, from several complex variables to
algebraic topology and homological algebra. A member of the Bourbaki
group, his participation in the rejuvenation of the French
mathematical school was essential, in particular through his seminar
held at the École Normale Supérieure. His roles as teacher and mentor
were also exceptional, and were felt well beyond national boundaries.

During the critical years after the second world war, Cartan's
enduring friendship with the German mathematician Heinrich Benhke, and
his own personal generosity, contributed greatly to the rebirth of
German mathematics. He was made an honorary member of the German
Mathematical Society (DMV) in 1994.

His natural preoccupation with international cooperation led to his
active involvement with the International Mathematical Union, of which
he was President from 1967 to 1970. As such he chaired the Fields
Medal Committee for the Nice International Congress of Mathematicians
in 1970.

He was actively involved in the defense of mathematicians who were
jailed or discriminated against in their countries, and was an ardent
defender of European unity.

Apart from his professional achievements, Henri Cartan will be
remembered for his personal qualities. He was generous to students,
colleagues and friends, and a vigorous defender of Human Rights.

His death is a severe loss to the mathematical community worldwide.

International Mathematical Union
22 August 2008


An interview of Henri Cartan conducted in March, 1999, and published
in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society may be found at
http://www.ams.org/notices/199907/fea-cartan.pdf

On-line obituaries may be found at
http://www.zeit.de/online/2008/34/henri-cartan-nachruf

Memorial Web sites for Henri Cartan
French Academie des Sciences:
http://www.academie-sciences.fr/membres/C/Cartan_Henri.htm
Société Mathématique de France:
http://smf.emath.fr/en/VieSociete/Rencontres/JourneeCartan/NoticeCartan.html

100th issue of the Gazette des Mathématiciens, the news publication of
Société Mathématique de France, carried some tributes to Cartan, two
of which are reproduced in September 2004 issue of the European
Mathematical Society Newsletter
http://www.emis.de/newsletter/archive_contents.html#nl_53


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last updated: 2012-12-06