Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat

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Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat
Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat 2.jpeg
Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat in 2006
Born (1923-12-29) 29 December 1923 (age 93)
Residence France
Nationality French
Fields Mathematics, physics
Institutions CNRS and others
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure
Known for

Proving the local existence and uniqueness of solutions to the vacuum Einstein Equations

First woman to be elected to the Académie des Sciences Française
Notable awards Grand Officier of the Légion d'honneur

Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat (French: [bʁy.a]; born 29 December 1923 in Lille) is a French mathematician and physicist. She was the first woman to be elected to the Académie des Sciences Française ("French Academy of Sciences") and is a Grand Officier of the Légion d'honneur.[1]


Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat undertook her secondary school education in Paris. Her father was the physicist Georges Bruhat (fr) (1887 - 1945) and her brother was the mathematician François Bruhat. In 1941 she entered the Concours General, a competition to determine the best pupils in the whole of France, and won the silver medal for physics. From 1943 to 1946 she studied at the École Normale Supérieure ("ENS") in Paris and from 1946 was a teaching assistant there and undertook research advised by André Lichnerowicz. From 1949 to 1951 she was a research assistant at the French National Centre for Scientific Research ("CNRS"), as a result of which she received her doctorate.[2]


Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat has worked in a range of areas in mathematical physics, applying results from the analysis of partial differential equations and differential geometry to provide a firm basis for solutions in physics. From 1951-1952 she worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton where she proved the local existence and uniqueness of solutions to the vacuum Einstein Equations.[3]

The following year Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat joined the faculty at Marseilles and in 1958 she was awarded the CNRS Silver Medal.[4] From 1958 to 1959 she taught at the University of Reims. In 1960 she became a professor at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (UPMC) in Paris, and has remained professor or professor emeritus until her retirement in 1992.

At the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie she continued to make significant contributions to mathematical physics, notably in general relativity, supergravity, and the non-Abelian gauge theories of the standard model. Her work in 1981 with Demetrios Christodoulou showed the existence of global solutions of the Yang-Mills, Higgs, and Spinor Field Equations in 3+1 Dimensions.[5] Additionally in 1984 she made perhaps the first study by a mathematician of supergravity with results that can be extended to the currently important model in D=11 dimensions.[6]

In 1978 Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat was elected a correspondent to the Academy of Sciences and on 14 May 1979 became the first woman to be elected a full member. From 1980 to 1983 she was President of the Comité international de relativité générale et gravitation ("International committee on general relativity and gravitation"). In 1985 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1986 she was chosen to deliver the prestigious Noether Lecture by the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat has two daughters and a son, Daniel Choquet. She is a widow; her second husband was Gustave Choquet. She was previously married to Léonce Foures, a professor of mathematics at the Marseille faculty, who had studied with Henri Cartan.


  • with Cécile DeWitt-Morette, Margaret Dillard-Bleick: Analysis, manifolds and physics. Elsevier, Amsterdam 2000, ISBN 0-444-50473-7
  • Distributions. Théorie et problèmes. Masson, Paris 1973.
  • Géométrie différentielle et systèmes extérieurs. Dunod, Paris 1968.
  • Graded bundles and supermanifolds. Bibliopolis, Naples 1989.
  • Problems and solutions in mathematical physics. Holden Day, San Francisco 1967.
  • General Relativity and the Einstein Equations, Oxford University Press 2009
  • Introduction to General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2015


  • Médaille d'Argent du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1958
  • Prix Henri de Parville of the Academie des Sciences, 1963
  • Member, Comite International de Relativite Generale et Gravitation (President 1980-1983)
  • Member, Académie des Sciences, Paris (elected 1979)
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1985
  • Association for Women in Mathematics Noether Lecturer, 1986
  • Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, 1997
  • Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, 2003
  • elevated to the 'Grand Officier' and 'Grand Croix' dignities in the Légion d'Honneur, 2008


  1. ^ (French) Décret of 11 July 2008, published in the JO of 13 July 2008
  2. ^ Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ (French)Y. Choquet-Bruhat, Théorème d'existence pour certains systèmes d'équations aux dérivées partielles non linéaires, Acta math., 88 (1952), pp. 141–225.
  4. ^ Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat page Archived February 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. at Contribution of 20th Century Women to Physics pages Archived October 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. of UCLA
  5. ^ "Existence of Global Solutions of the Yang-Mills, Higgs, and Spinor Field Equations in 3+1 Dimensions," (with D. Christodoulou)
  6. ^ Causalite des Theories de Supergravite," Societe Mathematique de France, Asterisque 79-93

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