About This Lecture

Tsinghua University Shiing-Shen Chern Distinguished Lecture is established in 2011 by Mathematical Sciences Center, Tsinghua University to honor the fundamental contributions of Shiing-Shen Chern to differential geometry. The lectureship is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the advancement of geometry. The recipient will deliver a public lecture at Tsinghua University. The award includes round-trip travel to Beijing, a citation and a prize.

Shiing-Shen Chern

Shiing-Shen ChernShiing-Shen Chern was born in Xiushui County, Jiaxing, Zhejiang province on October 28, 1911, and passed away in Tianjin on December 3, 2004. In 1926, he entered the Math Department of Nankai University, and graduated with BSc in 1930. Then he taught at the Tsinghua University Department of Mathematics as a teaching assistant. At the same time he also registered at Tsinghua Graduate School as a master student, and graduated with a master’s degree in 1934. After that, Chern won a scholarship from the Chinese Foundation of Culture and Education, and went to continue his study in mathematics in University of Hamburg in Germany, and obtained his Doctor of Science in February 1936. In the following summer, funded by Chinese Foundation of Culture, Chern went to Paris and worked with Élie Cartan to do research in differential geometry. In summer 1937, Chern returned to China and worked as a professor in Tsinghua. In 1943, Chern went to the United States, and worked at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. Chern returned to Shanghai in 1946 to help found the Institute of Mathematics of the Academia Sinica. He was the acting president of the institute. In early 1949, Chern returned to the United States, again worked at the IAS. In summer 1949, Chern became professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago, replacing professor E. P. Lane. Chern moved to the University of California, Berkeley in 1960, where he worked as a professor and stayed until his retirement in 1980. In 1961, Chern was elected member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. From 1963 to 1964, Chern was a vice-president of American Mathematical Society (AMS). In 1981, he founded the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) featuring pure mathematics in the University of California, Berkeley and served as the director until 1984. Afterward he became the honorary director of the institute.

After his retirement in 1984, Chern was appointed honorary professor in Peking University and then in Nankai University. In 1985, Chern was appointed director of Nankai Institute for Mathematics (NKIM), and awarded Honorary Doctor’s Degree by Nankai University.

Shiing-Shen Chern is a great mathematician in the twentieth century, with fundamental achievements in differential geometry. He developed Gauss-Bonnet Theorem, which was named Chern Class and was a classic work. He established the Differential Fiber Bundle theory, and its influence is widespread in all fields of mathematics. Besides, he founded the theory of distribution of values on the complex manifold, including Chern-Bott theorem. It influenced algebraic number theory. Furthermore, he laid a foundation for generalized integral geometry, and obtained the basic kinematic formula. The Chern Class and the Chern-Simons differential expression that he introduced have gone far beyond mathematics, becoming an important tool for theoretical physics. He published a total of 158 papers, and four volumes of Selected Papers. He was honored by numerous awards, such as Wolf Prize, National Medal of Sciences, and a prize by the American Mathematical Society. Besides, he was elected members in many associations, such as academician of Academia Sinica (1948), member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (1961), foreign fellow of Royal Society of London (1985), foreign member of Académie des sciences of France (1989), and foreign member of Chinese Academy of Sciences (1994).

陈省身,1911年10月28日生于浙江嘉兴秀水县,2004年12月3日在天津逝世。1926年考入南开大学数学系,1930年毕业,获学士学位。同年进入清华大学任助教。1931年开始在清华大学攻读研究生,1934年获硕士学位。同年获中华文化教育基金会奖学金,赴德国汉堡大学学习。1936年2月获科学博士学位,同年夏得到中华文化基金会资助,又转去法国巴黎跟从埃利•嘉当研究微分几何。1937年夏回国担任清华大学教授。1943年,到普林斯顿高级研究所工作。1946年,回到上海,主持中央研究院数学研究所的工作。1949年初,前往美国。1949年夏,在芝加哥大学接替了E.P.Lane的教授职位。1960年,陈省身受聘为加州大学伯克利分校教授,直到1980年退休为止。1961年当选为美国科学院院士,1963年至1964年间,任美国数学会副主席。陈省身1981年在加州大学柏克莱分校筹建以纯粹数学为主的美国国家数学研究所,他是第一任所长。任期三年,后任名誉所长。

1984年退休后,陈省身先后受聘为北京大学、南开大学名誉教授。1985年,受中华人民共和国教育部之聘担任南开大学数学研究所所长。同年南开大学授予他名誉博士学位。

陈省身先生是20世纪伟大的数学家,在微分几何方面的成就尤为突出。他发展了Gauss—Bonnet公式,被命名为“陈氏示性类(Chern Class)”,成为经典杰作。他建立微分纤维丛理论,其影响遍及数学的各个领域。创立复流形上的值分布理论,包括Chern—Bott定理,影响及于代数数论。他为广义的积分几何奠定基础,获得基本运动学公式。他所引入的陈氏示性类与Chern—Simons微分式,已深入到数学以外的其他领域,成为理论物理的重要工具。先后发表过数学论文158篇、《陈省身论文集》4卷以及《陈省身文选》等著作。曾荣获著名数学奖——沃尔夫奖,全美华人协会杰出成就奖,美国科学奖,美国数学会奖等。他被选为中央研究院首届院士(1948),美国国家科学院院士(1961),英国皇家学会国外会员(1985),法兰西学院外籍院士(1989),首批中国科学院外籍院士(1994)等。