Richard Palais

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Richard Palais (right) and Chuu-Lian Terng (wife) in Oberwolfach, 2010

Richard Sheldon Palais (born May 22, 1931) is a mathematician working in geometry who introduced the Principle of Symmetric Criticality, the Mostow–Palais theorem, the Lie–Palais theorem, the Morse–Palais lemma, and the Palais–Smale compactness condition.

From 1965 to 1967 Palais was a Sloan Fellow. In 1970 he was an invited speaker (Banach manifolds of fiber bundle sections) at the ICM in Nice. From 1965 to 1982 he was an editor for the Journal of Differential Geometry and from 1966 to 1969 an editor for the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society. In 2010 he received a Lester R. Ford Award.[1] In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[2]

He obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1956 under the joint supervision of Andrew M. Gleason and George Mackey.[3]

His doctoral students include Edward Bierstone, Leslie Lamport, Jill P. Mesirov, Chuu-lian Terng, and Karen Uhlenbeck.[3]

Selected publications[edit]


  • as editor: Seminar on the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem, Annals of Mathematical Studies, no. 4, Princeton Univ. Press, 1964
  • as author:
  • The classification of G-Spaces, Memoirs AMS 1960
  • Foundations of Global Nonlinear Analysis, Benjamin 1968
  • The geometrization of physics, Tsinghua University Press 1981
  • Real algebraic differential topology, Publish or Perish 1981
  • with Chuu-Lian Terng: Critical point theory and submanifold geometry, Lecture notes in Mathematics, vol.1353, Springer 1988


A nearly complete list of all papers authored or co-authored by Richard Palais is available for downloading as PDF files at


  1. ^ Palais, Bob; Palais, Richard; Rodi, Stephen (2009). "A Disorienting Look at Euler's Theorem on the Axis of a Rotation". Amer. Math. Monthly. 116 (10): 892–909. doi:10.4169/000298909x477014. 
  2. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-05-05.
  3. ^ a b Richard Sheldon Palais at the Mathematics Genealogy Project

External links[edit]