Nicolae Popescu

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For the novelist, see N. D. Popescu-Popnedea.
Nicolae Popescu
Born (1937-09-22)22 September 1937
Strehaia-Comanda, Romania
Died 29 July 2010(2010-07-29) (aged 72)
Bucharest, Romania
Nationality Romania
Fields Mathematics, Category theory
Institutions Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy, University of Bucharest
Alma mater University of Bucharest
Doctoral advisor Miron Nicolescu
Doctoral students Alexandru Zaharescu, Constantin Vraciu, Mircea M. Marinescu
Known for Contributions to Abelian category theory, non-Artinian rings/semi-Artenian rings and modules, Gabriel–Popescu theorem

Nicolae Popescu, Ph.D., D.Phil. (Romanian: [nikoˈla.e poˈpesku]; 22 September 1937 – 29 July 2010[1]) was a Romanian mathematician and Emeritus Professor. Popescu was elected a Member of the Romanian Academy in 1992. He is best known for his contributions to Algebra and the theory of Abelian categories. Since 1964 and until 2007 he collaborated on the characterization of abelian categories with the well-known French mathematician Pierre Gabriel. His areas of expertise were: Category theory, Abelian categories with Applications to Rings and Modules, adjoint functors, limits/colimits,[2] Theory of Sheaves, Theory of Rings, Fields and Polynomials, and Valuation Theory; he also had interests and published in the following areas: Algebraic Topology, Algebraic Geometry, Commutative Algebra, K-Theory, Class-Field theory, and Algebraic Function Theory. He published between 1962 and 2008 more than 102 papers in peer-reviewed, mathematics journals, several monographs on the theory of sheaves, and also six books on abelian category theory and abstract algebra. In a Grothendieck-like, energetic style, he initiated and provided scientific leadership to several seminars on category theory,[3] sheaves and abstract algebra which resulted in a continuous stream of high-quality mathematical publications in international, peer-reviewed mathematics journals by several members participating in his Seminar series. His book Abelian Categories with Applications to Rings and Modules[4] continues to provide valuable information to mathematicians around the world. His latest contributions have also branched into valuation and number theory. He has published over 110 original, peer-reviewed articles in mathematics, mostly in category theory, algebraic geometry, and Galois and number theory.


Popescu was married, and there is a surviving wife, Professor Dr. Elena Liliana Popescu and three children. He earned his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1964, and his Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1967, both at the University of Bucharest. He was awarded a D. Phil. degree (Doctor Docent) in 1972 by the University of Bucharest.

In 2009 he carried out mathematics studies at the Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy in the Algebra research group and also had international collaborations on three continents. One found from conversations with former Academician Nicolae Popescu that he shared many moral, ethical and religious values with another famous mathematician French-German-Jewish Alexander Grothendieck who visited the School of Mathematics in Bucharest in 1968. Like Grothendieck he had a long-standing interest in category theory, number theory, practicing Yoga, and supporting promising young mathematicians in his fields of interest. He also supported the early developments of category theory applications in relational biology and mathematical biophysics/mathematical biology.

Academic positions[edit]

Popescu was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Bucharest in 1968 where he taught graduate students until 1972. Since 1964, he also held a Research Professorship at the Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy, which institute was ruthlessly eliminated by former dictator and president of S.R. Romania, Nicolae Ceaușescu, in 1976 for reasons related to his daughter Zoe Ceaușescu who was 'hired' by the Mathematics Institute in Bucharest two years before.

Books published[edit]

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