Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, I studied mathematics at the ETH Zürich where I was strongly influenced by two great mathematicians: the topologist Heinz Hopf and the Lie group theorist Eduard Stiefel.
I moved to Paris to study with the "French Topology" group, where I learned enough from Henri Cartan's seminar to write my thesis on the Leray spectral sequence.
From there, it was on to the United States where I learned algebraic geometry and number theory from the esteemed Andre Weil...followed by sporadic teaching stints in Zurich.
Eventually, I settled in as a "permanent" professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (NJ), contributing research results to algebraic topology and the theory of Lie groups...and am now considered co-creator of the theory of linear algebraic groups.
For my work in algebra, especially research results and a text on the history of Lie Groups, I was awarded the Balzan Prize....followed by the Brouwer Medal, election to the Academy of Sciences in the U.S., Paris, and Finland, and the prestigous AMS's Steele Prize.
I was a member of the Bourbaki group for more than 20 years, but my actual contributions remain a secret.
In addition to traveling and hiking in local woods, I loved jazz and developed a passion for Carnatic music known for its syncopated rhythms and melodic improvisations.
Also, people always used to ask if I was related to the great Émile Borel, and I never gave a consistent answer...alternating between being his nephew and being not related.
Armand Borel (1923-2003)