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Math Trek

Sensitivity to the harmony of things

The great mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck celebrates his 80th birthday in self-imposed isolation

5:55pm, May 9, 2008

The most extraordinary genius in mathematics turned 80 in March, but no parties were held. His grateful students didn’t give speeches about him. Mathematicians didn’t convene at a grand conference in his honor. No one even lit a candle on his birthday cake. For more than 15 years, Alexandre Grothendieck has lived in self-imposed isolation in a tiny village in the Pyrenees. His rages have discouraged even his most determined visitors.

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