Mathematics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Featured Author: Shing-Tung Yau
Dr. Shing-Tung Yau was born (1949) in Swátōw (now known as Shantou), Guangdong Province, China. He attended Chung Chi College of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and traveled to UC Berkeley in 1969 on a fellowship from IBM. Two years later he had earned his Ph.D. in mathematics, studying under Shiing-Shen Chern. After work at SUNY Stony Brook, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, UC San Diego, and Stanford, he went to Harvard in 1987, becoming Chair of the Harvard Mathematics Department in 2008.
Yau received the Fields Medal in 1982 for his proof of the Calabi conjecture (1976) in algebraic geometry and complex geometry, the positive mass conjecture in general relativity (1979), the Frenkel conjecture in complex geometry (1980), the Smith conjecture in topology (1982), and for introducing powerful methods such as gradient estimates in geometric analysis, among many other contributions. Prof. Yau has also received the MacArthur "genius" Fellowship (1984), the Crafoord Prize (1994), the U.S. National Medal of Science (1997), and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics (2010). He has received numerous honorary doctorates, is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Mathematical Society. He is also a member of the national scientific academies of China, Russia, Taiwan, and Italy.
Prof. Yau's research lies principally in differential geometry and differential equations, but his work has touched all of mathematics and physics. His proof of the Calabi conjecture has been instrumental in the development of string theory and geometric analysis. In addition to his academic work, Yau is a major proponent of academic development in China, and has helped found at least four math institutes there. He has also trained over sixty Ph.D. students.
- Calabi-Yau manifold (2009), Scholarpedia, 4(8):6524.
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In 1982 Yau was awarded the Fields Medal.