Pierre Samuel (12 September 1921 – 23 August 2009) was a French mathematician, known for his work in commutative algebra and its applications to algebraic geometry. The two-volume work Commutative Algebra that he wrote with Oscar Zariski is a classic. Other books of his covered projective geometry and algebraic number theory.
|Died||23 August 2009 (aged 87)|
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Known for||Ramanujam–Samuel theorem|
|Institutions||University of Paris|
|Doctoral advisor||Oscar Zariski|
|Doctoral students||Daniel Lazard|
Samuel studied at the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly in Paris before attending the École Normale Supérieure where he studied for his Agrégé de mathematique. He received his Master of Arts and then a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1947, under the supervision of Oscar Zariski, with a thesis "Ultrafilters and Compactification of Uniform Spaces".
Samuel ran a Paris seminar during the 1960s, and became Professeur émérite at the Université Paris-Sud (Orsay). His lectures on unique factorization domains published by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research played a significant role in computing the Picard group of a Zariski surface via the work of Jeffrey Lang and collaborators. The method was inspired by earlier work of Nathan Jacobson and Pierre Cartier another outstanding member of the Bourbaki group. Nicholas Katz related this to the concept of p-curvature of a connection introduced by Alexander Grothendieck.
He was a member of the Bourbaki group, and filmed some of their meetings. A French television documentary on Bourbaki broadcast some of this footage in 2000.
Samuel was also active in issues of social justice, including concerns about environmental degradation (where he was influenced by Grothendieck), and arms control. He died in Paris in August 2009.