Jean Bourgain dies aged 64

Jean Bourgain, IBM von Neumann Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study died last December 22nd.

Born in 1954 in Ostende, Belgium, Jean Bourgain obtained hi PhD (1977) and his habilitation degree (1979) from the Free University of Brussels, where he was a professor between 1981 and 1985. In 1985 he was appointed a permanent professorship at IHES, where he remained until 1994, when he moved to the Institute for Advanced Study.

His work covers a wide range of topics, particularly analysis and its applications to other fields of Mathematics. He managed to obtain important results and answer longstanding questions including refined properties of Fourier series and transform, existence of Gibbs measure on the torus for partial differential equations, global existence in time for critical equation, contributions on the Anderson localisation and existence of quasiperiodic solutions.

All along his career, his achievements have been recognized with numerous awards and honors acknowledging his exceptional capacity to delve into a large diversity of problems. Notably, he was awarded the Fields Medal in 1994 “for his contributions to geometry of Banach spaces, convexity in high-dimensional spaces, harmonic analysis, ergodic theory and the theory of nonlinear evolution equations”. He also received the Salem Price (1983), the Langevin Prize of the French Academy of Sciences (1985), the Damry-Deleeuw-Bourlart Price (1985), the Elie Cartan Prize of the Académie des Sciences (1990), the Ostrowski Prize (1991), the Shaw Prize (2010) and the Crafoord Prize (2012, together with Terence Tao).

Most recently, he was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics in 2017 and the Steel prize of the American Mathematical Society in 2018 with the following citation: “Jean Bourgain is a giant in the field of mathematical analysis, which he has applied broadly and to great effect. In many instances, he provided foundations for entirely new areas of study, and in other instances he gave mathematics new tools and techniques.”.

He last visited IHES in 2014, when he contributed to the summer school on Analytic Number Theory.

At IHES we are deeply saddened by his death and extend our condolences to his family and friends.