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Chen Shengshen

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Mar 27, 2020

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Chen Shengshen (or Shiing-Shen Chern in Wade-GIles system) (1911-2004), born in Jiaxing, was a renowned Chinese-American mathematician and geometrist, as well as China's first university graduate to major in mathematics.

He established three mathematics institutes in China and cultivated many world-renowned mathematicians who have left an indelible mark on mathematics in China.

Chen attended schools in Germany, France, and the United States from 1934 to 1946. During his stay in the US, he finished the most important work of his life: testing the gauss-bonnet formula using the intrinsic method and creating the theory of characteristic class, which laid the foundation for global differential geometry.

In 1948, Chen was put in charge of the Institute of Mathematics of Academia Sinica, which was moved to Taiwan the following year.

In 1949, Chen moved to the US to assume posts as a professor at the University of Chicago, the University of California, Berkeley, vice-president of the American Mathematical Society, and the first director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Chen was also an academician at the National Academy of Sciences in the US, as well as a foreign academician at the French Academy of Sciences, the Royal Italian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society in the United Kingdom, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In 1984, Chen won the Wolf Prize, the mathematics version of the Nobel Prize.

in 1986, the Chinese Mathematical Society established the Chen Shengshen Prize in Mathematics, and in 2009, the International Mathematical Union introduced the Chern Medal Award in honor of the late mathematician.