Rene Thom, professor at I.H.E.S., Bures-sur-Yvette since 1963, he was born in Montbeliard, France on September 2, 1923. Professor Thom studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris from 1943-46, and obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences in 1951. After a year spent at a graduate college of Princeton University, he was professor at the faculty of sciences of Strasbourg University from 1954-1963. In 1954 Professor Thom invented and developed the theory of cobordism in algebraic topology. This classification of manifolds used homotopy theory in a fundamental way and became a prime example of a general cohomology theory. For this work, Professor Thom received the Field Medal in 1958. Later on at I.H.E.S., he originated, with E. C. Zeeman, the celebrated Catastrophe Theory. Professor Thom is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academie des Sciences de Paris, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (DRG), and the Academy of Sciences of Brazil.
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