About Sir Michael F. Atiyah, Fields Medal 1966
Sir Michael Francis Atiyah OM FRS FRSE FMedSci FREng is an English mathematician specialising in geometry.
Atiyah grew up in Sudan and Egypt and spent most of his academic life in the United Kingdom at Oxford and Cambridge, and in the United States at the Institute for Advanced Study. He has been president of the Royal Society (1990–1995), master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1990–1997), chancellor of the University of Leicester (1995–2005), and president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2005–2008). Since 1997, he has been an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh.
Atiyah's mathematical collaborators include Raoul Bott, Friedrich Hirzebruch and Isadore Singer, and his students include Graeme Segal, Nigel Hitchin and Simon Donaldson. Together with Hirzebruch, he laid the foundations for topological K-theory, an important tool in algebraic topology, which, informally speaking, describes ways in which spaces can be twisted. His best known result, the Atiyah–Singer index theorem, was proved with Singer in 1963 and is widely used in counting the number of independent solutions to differential equations. Some of his more recent work was inspired by theoretical physics, in particular instantons and monopoles, which are responsible for some subtle corrections in quantum field theory. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966, the Copley Medal in 1988, and the Abel Prize in 2004.