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Noted Number Theorist Atle Selberg Has Died

August 8, 2007

Norwegian number theorist Atle Selberg died on Aug. 6 in Princeton, where he had been a long-time permanent member of the Institute for Advanced Study.

Selberg made significant contributions to many aspects of number theory, including modular forms, analytic number theory, discrete groups, and trace formulas. His many achievements included new sieve methods related to the work of his compatriot Viggo Brun, his elementary proof (with Paul Erdös) of the prime number theorem, and contributions to the study of the Riemann zeta function. His most important contribution was the Selberg trace formula, a fundamental tool in harmonic analysis on Lie groups, which is especially useful in the study of automorphic forms.

Selberg was awarded the Fields medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Cambridge, Mass., in 1950. In 1996 at the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) conference on the Riemann Hypothesis in Seattle, he gave the keynote address. He was also an active participant at a follow-up AIM conference on that subject and later spent considerable time at AIM in Palo Alto participating in various meetings on the Riemann Hypothesis.

This past June 14, Selberg turned 90.

Source: American Institute of Mathematics, August 7, 2007

Start Date: 
Wednesday, August 8, 2007