Richard Schoen bigraphy, stories - American mathematician

Richard Schoen : biography

October 23, 1950 -

Richard Melvin Schoen (born October 23, 1950) is an American mathematician. Born in Fort Recovery, Ohio, he received his PhD in 1977 from Stanford University where he is currently the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Humanities and Sciences. His surname is pronounced "Shane," perhaps as a reflection of the regional dialect spoken by some of his German ancestors.

Schoen is a world expert in the use of analytic techniques in global differential geometry. In 1979, together with his former doctoral supervisor, Shing-Tung Yau, he proved the fundamental positive energy theorem in general relativity. In 1983, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, and in 1984, he obtained a complete solution to the Yamabe problem on compact manifolds. This work combined new techniques with ideas developed in earlier work with Yau, and partial results by Thierry Aubin and Neil Trudinger. The resulting theorem asserts that any Riemannian metric on a closed manifold may be conformally rescaled (that is, multiplied by a suitable positive function) so as to produce a metric of constant scalar curvature. For his work on the Yamabe problem, Schoen was awarded the Bôcher Memorial Prize in 1989. He joined the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1988 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1991, and won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996. In 2007, Simon Brendle and Richard Schoen proved the differentiable sphere theorem, a fundamental result in the study of manifolds of positive sectional curvature.

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