It is with great sadness that IHES learnt of the death of Cécile DeWitt-Morette, Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor in Physics at the University of Texas – Austin, occurred on 8 May 2017. A renowned French scientist, she worked at the frontiers of mathematics and physics. Although she decided to lead her career in the United States, she was dedicated to the French scientific community. In 1951 she founded the Les Houches Physics School, which soon became an internationally renowned meeting place for physicists, bringing together experienced as well as young researchers. She run the school for over 20 years and she was still very involved in it during her later years.
Cécile DeWitt-Morette played a crucial part in the founding of IHES by liaising Léon Motchane and Robert Oppenheimer, then director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Since the early years, Cécile would always defend IHES, notably by being member of the Board of Directors and by faithfully participating to the Board meetings from 1996 to 2014.
In addition to her international scientific stature she was a woman who inspired respect and admiration for her strength of character and determination, but who, when visiting IHES, was equally concerned about each one at the Institute and discussed with everyone humbly and amiably. All employees join the Institute’s scientists to express their heartfelt condolences to Cécile DeWitt-Morette’s family.
More information can be found on the website of the University of Texas – Austin.