Isadore Singer

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Isadore Singer
Isadore Singer 1977.jpeg
Isadore Singer, 1977
Born (1924-05-03) May 3, 1924 (age 96)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan (BA)
University of Chicago (MS, PhD)
Known forAtiyah–Singer index theorem
Analytic torsion
Kadison-Singer problem
Rosemary Singer
(m. 1956)
AwardsBôcher Memorial Prize (1969)
National Medal of Science (1983)
Wigner Medal (1988)
Steele Prize (2000)
Abel Prize (2004)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA
Doctoral advisorIrving Segal
Doctoral studentsRichard L. Bishop
Andrew Browder
David G. Ebin
Dan Freed
John Lott
Hugo Rossi
Linda Rothschild
Gerald Schwarz
Nancy K. Stanton
Frank W. Warner [de]

Isadore Manuel Singer (born May 3, 1924) is an American mathematician. He is an Institute Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.[1][2][3]

Singer is noted for his work with Michael Atiyah proving the Atiyah–Singer index theorem in 1962, which paved the way for new interactions between pure mathematics and theoretical physics.[4] In early 1980s, while a professor at Berkeley, Singer co-founded the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) with Shiing-Shen Chern and Calvin Moore.[5][6]


Singer was born in Detroit, Michigan, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1944.[7] After obtaining his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1948 and 1950 respectively, Singer taught at UCLA, UC Berkeley and MIT, where he has spent the majority of his career.[2][3][8]

The development of Atiyah-Singer index theorem relied upon the Dirac operator, where Singer rediscovered its importance to mathematics before the formulation of his famous contribution. He founded the subject of triangulated operator algebras with Richard V. Kadison, developed analytic torsion with D.B. Ray and with Henry McKean introduced heat equation formulas to the index theorem.

He was chair of the Committee of Science & Public Policy of the United States National Academy of Sciences, a member of the White House Science Council (1982–88), and on the Governing Board of the United States National Research Council (1995–99).[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

Singer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[9] In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[10]

Among the awards he has received are the Bôcher Memorial Prize (1969) and the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2000), both from the American Mathematical Society, the Eugene Wigner Medal (1988), the National Medal of Science (1983), the Abel Prize (2004, shared with Michael Atiyah),[11] the 2004 Gauss Lecture and the James Rhyne Killian Faculty Achievement Award from MIT (2005).[12]


  • Quantum field theory, supersymmetry, and enumerative geometry. Freed, Daniel S. and Morrison, David R. and Singer, Isadore editors. IAS/Park City Mathematics Series, Vol. 11. American Mathematical Society Providence, RI viii+285. Papers from the Graduate Summer School of the IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute held in Princeton, NJ, 2001. (2006)

(with Richard V Kadison) Some remarks on representations of connected groups (1952); Uniformly continuous representations of Lie groups (1952); ( with Warren Ambrose) A theorem on holonomy (1953); (with Richard Arens) Function values as boundary integrals (1954).


  1. ^ "Isadore Singer | MIT Mathematics". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  2. ^ a b "Isadore M. Singer | Department of Mathematics at University of California Berkeley". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  3. ^ a b "Singer biography". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  4. ^ Devlin, Keith (April 2004). "Abel Prize Awarded: The Mathematicians' Nobel". Devlin's Angle. Mathematical Association of America.
  5. ^ MSRI. "Mathematical Sciences Research Institute". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  6. ^ "Shiing-Shen Chern". Institute for Advanced Study. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b MIT Maths Biography
  9. ^ "Gruppe 1: Matematiske fag" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  10. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-07-20.
  11. ^
  12. ^