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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 California-Berkeley, with a dissertation on "Foliations of Three-Manifolds which are Circle Bundles."

Over the past four decades, I have worked and taught at the Institute for Advanced Study, MIT, Princeton University, UC-Berkeley, University of California-Davis...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 - )