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 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).