Robert F. Coleman

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Robert F. Coleman
Robert F. Coleman.jpg
Robert Coleman at Oberwolfach in 1983
Born (1954-11-22)November 22, 1954
Died March 24, 2014(2014-03-24) (aged 59)
Nationality  United States
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of California, Berkeley
Alma mater
Doctoral advisor Kenkichi Iwasawa
Doctoral students
  • Matthew Baker
  • Ioan Berbec
  • Roland Dreier
  • Bruce Kaskel
  • Walter Kim
  • Chong Lim
  • Kenneth McMurdy
  • Despina Prapavessi
  • Soogil Seo
  • Lawren Smithline
  • Harvey Stein
  • Pavlos Tzermias
Known for
  • p-adic integration
  • Method of Coleman and Chabauty
  • Coleman-Mazur eigencurve
  • overconvergent p-adic modular forms
Notable awards

Robert F. Coleman (November 22 1954 – March 24, 2014) was an American mathematician, and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[1]

After graduating from Nova High School, he completed his bachelor's degree at Harvard University in 1976 and subsequently attended Cambridge University for Part III of the mathematical tripos. While there John H. Coates provided him with a problem for his doctoral thesis ("Division Values in Local Fields"), which he completed at Princeton University in 1979 under the advising of Kenkichi Iwasawa. He then had a one-year postdoctoral appointment at the Institute for Advanced Study and then taught at Harvard University for three years. In 1983, he moved to University of California, Berkeley. In 1985, he was struck with a severe case of multiple sclerosis, in which he lost the use of his legs. Despite this, he remained an active faculty member until his retirement in 2013. He was awarded a MacArthur fellowship in 1987.[2]

He worked primarily in number theory, with specific interests in p-adic analysis and arithmetic geometry. In particular, he developed a theory of p-adic integration analogous to the classical complex theory of abelian integrals. Applications of Coleman integration include an effective version of Chabauty's theorem concerning rational points on curves and a new proof of the Manin-Mumford conjecture, originally proved by Raynaud. Coleman is also known for introducing p-adic Banach spaces into the study of modular forms and discovering important classicality criteria for overconvergent p-adic modular forms. With Barry Mazur, he introduced the eigencurve and established some of its fundamental properties. In 1990, Coleman found a gap in Manin's proof of the Mordell conjecture over function fields and managed to fill it in. With José Felipe Voloch, Coleman established an important unchecked compatibility in Dick Gross's theory of companion forms.

Robert Coleman died on March 24, 2014[3] and is survived by his wife Tessa, sister Rosalind, brother Mark, nephew Jeffrey and niece Elise, and service dog Julep.

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ "Robert F. Coleman | Department of Mathematics at University of California Berkeley". Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  2. ^ (Freistadt 1987)
  3. ^ Baker, Matt (March 25, 2014). "Robert F. Coleman 1954-2014". Matt Baker's Math Blog. WordPress. Retrieved March 27, 2014.  External link in |work= (help)

External links[edit]