Born in Kansas, I entered Yale University to be study divinity...and soon switched to the study of mathematics.
After obtaining my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, I taught mathematics at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Cambridge University, and the University of Florida.
In my dissertation, I used some novel techniques to resolve a 50-year-old conjecture about automorphisms of finite groups...my proof was even written up in the New York Times.
Though my original work served as the basis and impetus for the classification of finite simple groups, I switched to do research in the areas of coding theory, finite projective planes, modular functions, and Galois groups.
I have been fortunate to receive many awards: the Cole Prize, the Fields medal, election to both the National Academy of Sciences and the royal Society of London, the Senior Berwick Prize, the Sylvester Prize, the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, the Abel prize, and the Henri Poincare golden medal.
John Thompson (1832 - )