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Shiing-Shen Chern 1911-2004, Co-Founder of MSRI

  1. December 03, 2004

Shiing-Shen Chern, cofounder and first Director of MSRI (1982-85), died on Friday, December 3, 2004, after a brief illness in China. Chern was truly a towering figure in 20th century mathematics. Aside from his fundamental contributions in geometry, including the eponymous "Chern classes," he was mentor to many, many mathematicians both in the United States (he taught at the University of Chicago and then, for most of his career, at UC Berkeley) and in China. His national celebrity in China was immense. A star was named for him. He had close ties to President Jiang Zhemin, and used them to benefit mathematics in many ways.

Though he returned to China in 1999, Chern remained a strong supporter of MSRI. His major gift sparked MSRI's successful campaign to expand its building, and when he was honored this year with the Shaw Prize for Mathematics, he gave MSRI a large additional gift from the proceeds.
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A brief biography written in 1998 for a Symposium in his honor at <b><font color=red>MSRI</font></b>, can be found here: <a href="http://www.msri.org/chern_04.pdf" target= _new>http://www.msri.org/chern_04.pdf</a>--!>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/07/international/asia/07chern.html">http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/07/international/asia/07chern.html</a> NY Times (registration required)</li>
<li><a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1396545,00.html">http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1396545,00.html</a> The Times (London)</li>
<li><a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/09/BAG9BA8CAR1.DTL">http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/09/BAG9BA8CAR1.DTL</a> SF Chronicle</li>
<li><a href="http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/12/06_chern.shtml">http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/12/06_chern.shtml</a> UCB </li>
</ul>