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Honors and Awards

Throughout his career, Bott has been showered with honors, awards, and prizes. The more noteworthy awards include: Sloan Fellowship (1956-60), Veblen Prize of the American Mathematical Society (1964), Guggenheim Fellowship (1976), National Medal of Science (1987), Steele Career Prize of the American Mathematical Society (1990), and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics (2000).

He was twice invited to address the International Congress of Mathematicians, in Edinburgh in 1958 and in Nice in 1970.

He was elected Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society in 1974-75, Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society (1976), Honorary Fellow of St. Catherine's College, Oxford (1985), and Honorary Member of the Moscow Mathematical Society (1997). He has been a member of the National Academy of Science since 1964 and the French Academy of Sciences since 1995.

In 1987 he gave the Convocation Address at McGill University. He has also received Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Science from the University of Notre Dame (1980), McGill University (1987), Carnegie Mellon University (1989), and the University of Leicester, England (1995).

Mathematical Works

The bibliography in Raoul Bott's Collected Papers [B5] lists his publications, with some omissions, up to 1990. At the end of this article, we complete that bibliography by listing the missing publications up to 1990 and the publications since then.

When asked to single out the top three in the manner of an Olympic contest, he replied, ``Can I squeeze in another one?'' But after listing four as the tops, he sighed and said, ``This is like being asked to single out the favorites among one's children.'' In the end he came up with a top-five list, in chronological order:

Homogeneous vector bundles,
The periodicity theorem,
Topological obstruction to integrability,
Yang-Mills equations over Riemann surfaces,
The localization theorem in equivariant cohomology.

To discuss only these five would not do justice to the range of his output. On the other hand, it is evidently not possible to discuss every item in his ever-expanding opus. As a compromise, I asked him to make a longer list of all his favorite papers, without trying to rank them. What follows is a leisurely romp through the nineteen papers he chose. My goal is to explain, as simply as possible, the main achievement of his own favorite papers. For this reason, the theorems, if stated at all, are often not in their greatest generality.

next up previous
Next: Impedance Up: The life and works Previous: Bott as a teacher
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