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Jacques Tits

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Uccle, Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
Immediate Family:

Son of Léon Marie Joseph Tits and Maria Louisa Arthur Tits
Widower of Marie-Jeanne Tits

Occupation: mathematician
Last Updated:

About Jacques Tits

Jacques Tits (French: [tits]; born 12 August 1930 in Uccle) is a Belgium-born French mathematician who works on group theory and geometry and who introduced Tits buildings, the Tits alternative, and the Tits group.

Career

Tits was born in Uccle to Léon Tits, a professor, and Lousia André. Jacques attended the Athénée of Uccle and the Free University of Brussels. His thesis advisor was Paul Libois, and Tits graduated with his doctorate in 1950 with the dissertation Généralisation des groupes projectifs basés sur la notion de transitivité. His academic career includes professorships at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) (1962-1964), the University of Bonn (1964-1974) and the Collège de France in Paris, until becoming emeritus in 2000. He changed his citizenship to French in 1974 in order to teach at the Collège de France, which at that point required French citizenship. Because Belgian nationality law did not allow dual nationality at the time, he renounced his Belgian citizenship. He has been a member of the French Academy of Sciences since then.

Tits was an "honorary" member of the Nicolas Bourbaki group; as such, he helped popularize Harold Scott MacDonald Coxeter's work, introducing terms such as Coxeter number, Coxeter group, and Coxeter graph.

Honors

Tits received the Wolf Prize in Mathematics in 1993, the Cantor Medal from the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (German Mathematical Society) in 1996, and the German distinction "Pour le Mérite". In 2008 he was awarded the Abel Prize, along with John Griggs Thompson, “for their profound achievements in algebra and in particular for shaping modern group theory.” He is a member of several Academies of Sciences. He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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Jacques Tits's Timeline

1930
August 12, 1930
Uccle, Brussels, Brussels, Belgium