Smale, Stephen, 1930-....

Alternative names
Birth 1930-07-15

Biographical notes:

Stephen Smale, born in 1930 in Flint, Michigan, is an American mathematician who worked for over thirty years in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley (1960-1995). Early work produced proofs of a sphere eversion (1958) and the Poincaré conjecture for all dimensions greater than or equal to 5. His work in differential topology was followed by an interest in dynamical systems, which produced the famous Smale horseshoe. Smale was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966 and the Wolf Prize in mathematics in 2007. In addition to his work in mathematics, Smale was an activist in the anti-war movement and the free speech movement. He co-founded the Vietnam Day Committee in Berkeley, whose most prominent act was a 1965 Oakland demonstration intended to stop troop trains. In 1966, Smale travelled to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Moscow, where he was scheduled to deliver a paper and receive the Fields Medal. While in Moscow, Smale created controversy by issuing a statement from the steps of Moscow University that criticized both the war in Vietnam and what he perceived to be a new McCarthyism in the United States. This event was the catalyst for a congressional inquiry into the National Science Foundation's funding of Smale which became known as the Smale Case.

From the description of Stephen Smale papers, 1950-1998. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 778791779


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  • Protest movements
  • Freedom of speech
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics--Study and teaching
  • Peace movements
  • Fields Prizes
  • Mathematics--Congresses
  • Demonstrations
  • Mathematicians


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  • California--Berkeley (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)