David Mumford

British/American mathematician

David Mumford (born 11 June 1937) is an American mathematician and Professor Emeritus at Brown University and Harvard University. Mumford is known for distinguished work in algebraic geometry, and was awarded the Fields Medal in 1974, and the National Medal of Science in 2010.

David Mumford


  • There is only one other survey, Datta and Singh’s 1938 History of Hindu Mathematics, recently reprinted but very hard to obtain in the West (I found a copy in a small specialized bookstore in Chennai). They describe in some detail the Indian work in arithmetic and algebra and, supplemented by the equally hard to find Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India by Sarasvati Amma (1979), one can get an overview of most topics.
    • David Mumford (March 2010). "Book Review". Notices of the AMS 57 (3).
  • John Tate and I were asked by Nature magazine to write an obituary for Alexander Grothendieck. Now he is a hero of mine, the person that I met most deserving of the adjective "genius". I got to know him when he visited Harvard and John, Shurik (as he was known) and I ran a seminar on "Existence theorems". His devotion to math, his disdain for formality and convention, his openness and what John and others call his naiveté struck a chord with me.
  • I am accustomed, as a professional mathematician, to living in a sort of vacuum, surrounded by people who declare with an odd sort of pride that they are mathematically illiterate.
    • David Mumford, cited in: Michael Harris (2015), Mathematics without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation. p. 5

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