Nigel Hitchin

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Nigel Hitchin
Nigel Hitchin 2004.jpg
Nigel Hitchin, 2004
Born (1946-08-02) 2 August 1946 (age 67)
Holbrook, Derbyshire, England
Nationality United Kingdom
Fields Mathematics

University of Oxford

University of Warwick
Alma mater University of Oxford
Doctoral advisor Brian Steer
Michael Atiyah
Doctoral students Jørgen Ellegaard Andersen
Yuri Bozhkov
Simon Donaldson
Oscar Garcia-Prada
Peter Gothen
Tamás Hausel[1]
Jacques Hurtubise
Simon Salamon
Known for Higgs bundle
Hitchin functional
Hitchin–Thorpe inequality
Nahm–Hitchin description of monopoles
Generalized complex structure

Nigel Hitchin (b. 2 August 1946) is a British mathematician working in the fields of differential geometry, algebraic geometry, and mathematical physics.

Academic career[edit]

Hitchin attended Ecclesbourne School, Duffield, and earned his BA in mathematics from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1968.[2] After moving to Wolfson College, he received his D.Phil. in 1972. In 1997 he was appointed to the Savilian Chair of Geometry at Oxford University, a position previously held by his doctoral supervisor (and later research collaborator) Sir Michael Atiyah.

Amongst his notable discoveries are the Hitchin integrable system, the Hitchin–Thorpe inequality, Hitchin's projectively flat connection over Teichmüller space, Hitchin's self-duality equations, the Atiyah–Hitchin monopole metric, the Atiyah–Hitchin–Singer theorem, the ADHM construction of instantons (of Atiyah, Drinfeld, Hitchin, and Manin), and the Hyperkähler quotient (of Hitchin, Karlhede, Lindström and Rocek).

In his article [3] on generalized Calabi–Yau manifolds, he introduced the notion of generalized complex manifolds, providing a single structure that incorporates, as examples, Poisson manifolds, symplectic manifolds and complex manifolds. These have found wide applications as the geometries of flux compactifications in string theory and also in topological string theory.

He conjectured the Kobayashi–Hitchin correspondence.

In the span of his career, Hitchin has supervised nearly thirty research students, including Simon Donaldson (part-supervised with Atiyah).

NIgel Hitchin is managing editor of the journal Mathematische Annalen.

Honours and awards[edit]

In 1991 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[4]

In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Bath.

Hitchin was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Oxford's Jesus College in 1998,[2] and the Senior Berwick Prize (1990), the Sylvester Medal (2000) and the Pólya Prize (2002) have been awarded to him in honour of his far-reaching work. A conference was held in honour of his 60th birthday, in conjunction with the 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians in Spain.

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[5]


  1. ^ Nigel James Hitchin at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b Fellows' News, Jesus College Record (1998/9) (p.12)
  3. ^ Hitchin, Nigel (2003), "Generalized Calabi–Yau manifolds", Quarterly Journal of Mathematics 54 (3): 281–308, arXiv:math/0209099v1, doi:10.1093/qmath/hag025 
  4. ^ "fellows". Royal Society. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  5. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-01-21.

External links[edit]