Born in Washington, D.C., I graduated from New College with an undergraduate thesis that developed an intuitionist foundation for topology.
Working under Morris Hirsch, I received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, with a dissertation on "Foliations of ThreeManifolds which are Circle Bundles."
Over the past four decades, I have worked and taught at the Institute for Advanced Study, MIT, Princeton University, UCBerkeley, University of CaliforniaDavis...and am now at Cornell University.
Currently, I focus on ways to bring mathematics to the general public, having served as editor for Quantum Magazine and directed The Geometry Center.
For my pioneering work in topology in 2 or 3 dimensions, I was awarded the Fields Medal to recognize the "depth and originality" of my contributions to mathematics.
My other area of research was in foliation theory, which some claim "led to a kind of exodus from the field, where advisors counselled students against going into foliation theory because (I) was 'cleaning out the subject.'"
My Erdős number is 2.
Answer:
William Paul Thurston (1946  )
