Low Dimensional Topology

August 22, 2012

Bill Thurston is dead at age 65.

Bill Thurston passed away yesterday at 8pm, succumbing to the cancer that he had been battling for the past two years.   I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the revolutionary impact that he had on the study of geometry and topology.  Almost everything we blog about here has the imprint of his amazing mathematics.    Bill was always very generous with his ideas, and his presence in the community will be horribly missed.    Perhaps I will have something more coherent to say later, but for now here are some links to remember him by:

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4 Comments »

  1. What a sad day. One of the striking aspects of mathematics is that there are some people who have more ideas than
    100 “standard” mathematicians combined. Bill Thurston was certainly one of them.

    I am reminded of a French book title I once saw:
    “Quand je pense que Beethoven est mort alors que tant de crétins vivent”
    the same sentiment certainly also applies to Bill Thurston.

    Comment by stefanfriedl — August 22, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  2. When I was a graduate student at Cornell, Bill was very nice to me, he provided financial support to me for several years so that I could focus on my research. He even bought a software for me, since I mentioned that it’s expensive.

    He never lost his patience because of my slow understanding his ideas, and he was always very happy if I made some progress on my research. I remember when I told him the details about geometric flow, he could know immediately by his surprising geometric intuition if I made mistake at somewhere.

    Many years ago, when my wife visited me in the lounge of Malott Hall during the lunch time, he came to us and talk with us. He also showed us his new iphone (he was an Apple fan) and he also told us that he came to campus by bicycle.

    My wife and I feel very sorrowful about Bill’s pass away. Wish him rest in peace.

    Comment by Biao Wang — August 22, 2012 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  3. Reblogged this on harrygrigg and commented:
    Rest in peace. One of the good ones, from what I read.

    Comment by harrygrigg — August 23, 2012 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  4. He will be deeply missed. A Cornell tribute has been posted here:
    http://www.math.cornell.edu/News/2012-2013/thurston.html

    Comment by timrriley — August 24, 2012 @ 3:15 pm | Reply


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