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Algebraic geometry at IHES


Posters of "Séminaire de géométrie algébrique"

The scientific heritage of IHES

The golden age of algebraic geometry

The "Séminaire de géométrie algébrique du Bois-Marie" was held every Tuesday afternoon in the music pavilion, which doubled up as library and conference room. These long seminars, conducted in the Cartan tradition, aimed to provide a new foundation for algebraic geometry, specifically in the language of schemes.

Portrait of Pierre Deligne, 1970s

The recruitment of Pierre Deligne

"He is only twenty-four!” ..."

Scientific Committee discussions, May 1969

Pierre Deligne working at his desk, 1970s

When Pierre Deligne arrived at IHES, the possibility of offering him a permanent professor post quickly arose. The proposal was enthusiastically supported by Alexander Grothendieck but objections were raised. Pierre Deligne was very young and had not yet obtained his doctorate. Nonetheless, the Institute was prepared to take a risk...

“Whichever math center secures him will be as influential as Göttingen in Hilbert’s time.”

Alexander Grothendieck, talking about Pierre Deligne, 1968.

Algebraic geometry, an IHES tradition

Poster of a seminar, "Aspects de la géométrie algébrique : la postérité d'Alexander Grothendieck", 2009

Deligne’s recruitment embedded algebraic geometry even more firmly into the fabric of the Institute. Throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, the cafeteria echoed with the conversations of Jean-Pierre Serre, John Tate, Armand Borel, Robert Langlands and many, many others.

Program of the arithmetic and algebraic geometry lectures organized by Ahmed Abbès and Emmanuel Ullmo, 2012-2015
To this day, Alexander Grothendieck’s major contributions still form a topic of conversation at teatime.