Pierre Samuel bigraphy, stories - French mathematician

Pierre Samuel : biography

12 September 1921 - 23 August 2009

Pierre Samuel (12 September 1921 – 23 August 2009 Obituary of Pierre Samuel (LeMonde) ) was a French mathematician, known for his work in commutative algebra and its applications to algebraic geometry. The two-volume work Commutative Algebra that he wrote with Oscar Zariski is a classic. Other books of his covered projective geometry and algebraic number theory. He ran a Paris seminar during the 1960s, and became Professeur émérite at the Université Paris-Sud (Orsay). His lectures on unique factorization domains published by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research played a significant role in computing the Picard group of a Zariski surface via the work of Jeffrey Lang and collaborators. The method was inspired by earlier work of Nathan Jacobson and Pierre Cartier another outstanding member of the Bourbaki group. Nicholas Katz related this to the concept of p-curvature of a connection introduced by Alexander Grothendieck.

He was a member of the Bourbaki group, and filmed some of their meetings. A French television documentary on Bourbaki broadcast some of this footage in 2000.

Samuel was also active in issues of social justice, including concerns about environmental degradation (where he was influenced by Grothendieck), and arms control. Pierre Samuel Letter to the American Mathematical Society He died in Paris in August 2009.

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