Authorised form of nameAtiyah; Sir; Michael Francis (1929 - 2019)
Dates1929 - 2019
Place of birthLondon, England
Date of birth22/04/1929
Date of death11/01/2019
Research fieldMathematics
OM 1992; Kt 1983
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election15/03/1962
Age at election32
Royal Society activityRoyal Society roles:
Council: 1972-1974, 1984-1985, 1990-1995; VP 1984-1985; PRS 1990-1995
Medals and prizes:
Royal Medal 1968; Copley Medal 1988; Abel Prize 2004 (with Isadore Singer) for creating Index Theory
Bakerian 1975; Humphry Davy 1986
General contextSir Michael Atiyah was a mathematician who made outstanding contributions to geometry and topology and was President of the Royal Society from 1990 until 1995. He was best known for his co-development of topological K-theory and the Atiyah–Singer index theorem. As well as advancing pure mathematics, Sir Michael’s work has been fruitfully applied and extended to both pillars of theoretical physics — quantum theory and general relativity.

His research involved deep insights relating to mathematical concepts known as vector bundles. The well-known Möbius strip and the Klein bottle can both be mathematically described in terms of vector bundles.

Sir Michael received very many awards, including the 1966 Fields Medal, the 1968 Royal Medal of the Royal Society, the 1988 Copley Medal of the Royal Society, and the 2004 Abel Prize of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He was knighted in 1983, appointed to the Order of Merit in 1992 and was made a Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur in 2011.

Sir Michael Atiyah OM HonFREng FRS died on 11 January 2019.

Atiyah P0148.jpg

SourcesThe Abel Prize is the Nobel Prize equivalent for Mathematics (there is no Nobel Prize for Mathematics) established by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2002 to commemorate the nineteenth century mathematician Niels Henrik Abel
Anne Purkiss 'Scientists 1985 - 2010; Portraits of Fellows of the Royal Society' 2010
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA7718
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1962/01Atiyah, Michael Francis: certificate of election to the Royal Society
IM/003408Palaozzi, Eduardo and Atiyah, SIr MichaelJune 1995
IM/004783Atiyah, Sir Michael1995
P/0148Portrait of Atiyah, Sir Michael1995
IM/000149Atiyah, Sir Michael Francis1995
IM/GA/SGRS/8390Atiyah, Sir Michael Francis1985
IM/GA/WRS/8998Atiyah, Sir Michael Francisnd
IM/000148Atiyah, Sir Michael1995
IM/005057Lachmann, Sir Peter; Atiyah, Sir Michael and Rowlinson, Sir John on Admission Day 19951995
IM/004784Atiyah, Sir Michael1995
IM/000423Bohr, Niels Henrik David1992
IM/AKP/0007aPortrait of Sir Michael AtiyahMarch 1981
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