Jean Bourgain

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Jean Bourgain
Jean Bourgain (vertical crop).jpg
Born(1954-02-28)28 February 1954
Died22 December 2018(2018-12-22) (aged 64)[1]
Bonheiden, Belgium
Alma materVrije Universiteit Brussel
Known forAnalytic number theory
Harmonic analysis
Ergodic theory
Banach spaces
Partial differential equations
AwardsSalem Prize (1983)
Ostrowski Prize (1991)
Fields Medal (1994)
Shaw Prize (2010)
Crafoord Prize (2012)
Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics (2017)
Steele Prize (2018)
Scientific career
InstitutionsInstitute for Advanced Study
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Berkeley
Doctoral advisorFreddy Delbaen
Doctoral studentsJames Colliander
Péter Varjú[2]
InfluencesLaurent Schwartz
Bernard Maurey
Gilles Pisier
Vitali Milman
InfluencedTerence Tao

Jean, Baron Bourgain (French: [buʁɡɛ̃]; (1954-02-28)28 February 1954 – (2018-12-22)22 December 2018) was a Belgian mathematician. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1994 in recognition of his work on several core topics of mathematical analysis such as the geometry of Banach spaces, harmonic analysis, ergodic theory and nonlinear partial differential equations from mathematical physics.[3]


Bourgain received his PhD from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1977. He was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and, from 1985 until 1995, professor at Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques at Bures-sur-Yvette in France, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey from 1994 until 2018.[4] He was an editor for the Annals of Mathematics. From 2012 to 2014, he was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley.[5]

His research work included several areas of mathematical analysis such as the geometry of Banach spaces, harmonic analysis, analytic number theory, combinatorics, ergodic theory, partial differential equations and spectral theory, and later also group theory. In 2000, Bourgain connected the Kakeya problem to arithmetic combinatorics.[6][7] As a researcher, he was the author or coauthor of more than 500 articles.[8]

Bourgain was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2014. He died of it on 22 December 2018 at a hospital in Bonheiden, Belgium.[9]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Bourgain received several awards during his career, the most notable being the Fields Medal in 1994.

In 2009 Bourgain was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[10]

In 2010, he received the Shaw Prize in Mathematics.[11]

In 2012, he and Terence Tao received the Crafoord Prize in Mathematics from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[12]

In 2015, he was made a baron by king Philippe of Belgium.[13]

In 2016, he received the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics.[14]

In 2017, he received the 2018 Leroy P. Steele Prizes.[15]

Selected publications[edit]




  1. ^ "Death of mathematician Jean Bourgain". The Brussels Times. 30 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  2. ^ Jean Bourgain at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ "Fields Medals and Nevanlinna Prize 1994". Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  4. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Jean Bourgain", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  5. ^ "Jean Bourgain | Department of Mathematics at University of California Berkeley". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. ^ Bourgain, J. (2000). "Harmonic analysis and combinatorics: How much may they contribute to each other?". Mathematics: Frontiers and Perspectives. IMU/Amer. Math. Soc. pp. 13–32.
  7. ^ Tao, Terence (March 2001). "From Rotating Needles to Stability of Waves: Emerging Connections between Combinatorics, Analysis and PDE" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 48 (3): 297–303. arXiv:math/0008098. Bibcode:2000math......8098T.
  8. ^ Tao, Terence Chi-Shen (2019). "Jean Bourgain, problem solver". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116 (28): 13717–13718. doi:10.1073/pnas.1901965116. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 6628665. PMID 31209024.
  9. ^ Kenneth Chang (16 January 2019), "Jean Bourgain, Problem-Conquering Mathematician, Is Dead at 64", New York Times
  10. ^ Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: Many new members elected to the Academy[permanent dead link], press release on 12 February 2009
  11. ^ Shaw Prize Press Release
  12. ^ Crafoord Press Release on 19 January 2012
  13. ^ Jean Bourgain’s Coat of Arms  —Institute for Advanced Study
  14. ^ Breakthrough Prize Press Release
  15. ^ Jean Bourgain to Receive 2018 Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement
  16. ^ Staffilani, Gigliola (2003). "Review of Global Solutions of Nonlinear Schrödinger Equations by Jean Bourgain". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 40: 99–107. doi:10.1090/S0273-0979-02-00956-4.
  17. ^ Kenig, Carlos E. (2020). "On the work of Jean Bourgain in nonlinear dispersive equations". Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 58 (2): 173–189. doi:10.1090/bull/1718. ISSN 0273-0979.

External links[edit]