André Weil

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André Weil (6 May 1906 – 6 August 1998) (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃dʁe vɛj]) was an influential mathematician of the 20th century, renowned for the breadth and quality of his research output, its influence on future work, and the elegance of his exposition. He is especially known for his foundational work in number theory and algebraic geometry. He was a founding member and the de facto early leader of the influential Bourbaki group. The philosopher Simone Weil was his sister.



Born in Paris to Alsatian agnostic Jewish parents who fled the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. His only sibling was Simone Weil, a famous philosopher. Weil studied in Paris, Rome and Göttingen and received his doctorate in 1928. While in Germany, he befriended Carl Ludwig Siegel. He spent two academic years at Aligarh Muslim University from 1930. Hinduism and Sanskrit literature were his life-long interests. After one year in Marseille, he taught six years in Strasbourg. He married Éveline in 1937.

Weil was in Finland when World War II broke out; he had been traveling in Scandinavia since April 1939. Éveline returned to France without him. Weil was mistakenly arrested in Finland at the outbreak of the Winter War suspected of spying; however, accounts of his life having been at danger have been shown to be exaggerated.[1] Weil returned to France via Sweden and the United Kingdom, and was detained at Le Havre in January 1940. He was charged with failure to report for duty, and was imprisoned in Le Havre and then Rouen. It was in the military prison in Bonne-Nouvelle, a district of Rouen, from February to May, that he did the work that made his reputation. He was tried on 3 May 1940. Sentenced to five years, he asked to be sent to a military unit instead, and joined a regiment in Cherbourg. After the fall of France, he met up with his family in Marseille, where he arrived by sea. He then went to Clermont-Ferrand, where he managed to join Éveline, who had been in German-occupied France.

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