In 1930, I began my graduate work at Tsing Hua University in Peking, being the only graduate student in mathematics to enter the university that year.
Initially publishing papers in the area of projective geometry, I was noticed by mathematicians internationally...leading to my subsequent work with Blaschke in Hamburg and Cartan in Paris.
The Chinese-Japanese War prevented my return to teach at a Chinese university, so I took a position at Princeton where my research work impressed both Weyl and Veblen.
At the end of World War II, I returned to the Institute of Mathematics at the Academia Sinica in Nanking, but a civil war in China broke out and it foced me once again to leave China to take a series of positions in the United States.
My area of research was differential geometry when it was not fashionable, and I am best known for my proof of the Gauss-Bonnet formula.
Shiing-Shen Chern (1911-2004)