I fell in love with mathematics at an early age...by the age of ten I was "passionately addicted" to it.
As a college student, even when hiking during my summer vacations, I always carried a notebook with me so that I could make my mathematical calculations, especially involving Diophantine equations.
I was a primary force as part of the research publications made by the fictitious name Nicolas Bourbaki in the 1930s.
A conscientious objector, I tried to avoid military service during WWII by fleeing to Finland...but was arrested and and when letters in Russian were found in my room (actually mathematical correspondence) I was told that I would be executed as a spy...so I persuaded the Finland authorities to deport me back to a prison in France....but I was still in great danger because I was Jewish and my sister Simone was a mystic philosopher....so I argued successfully for my release from prison on the condition that I would join the army.
Once in the French army, I waited for an opportune momement and then escaped to the United States in 1941 to teach mathematics.
Some claim I was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, making key contributions to number theory, algebraic geometry, group theory, topology, differential geometry and complex analytic geometry.
Answer:
Andre Weil (19061998)
