International Forum on Mathematics and History of Mathematics
Commemoration
Wen-Tsun Wu Intro

Biography:
Wu Wenjun (Wen-Tsun Wu) is one of the most influential Chinese mathematicians in the world. He made fundamental contributions to topology, one of the core areas of mathematics, and pioneered a new discipline called Mathematics Mechanization, both having far-reaching influences on mathematics and computer science. He devoted himself to the research of Stiefel-Whitney characteristic class from 1946 to 1951 and to the research of Pontryagin’s characteristic class from 1953 to 1957. Afterwards, Wu turned his attention to the study of the Embedding Class. Because of his fundamental contributions to characteristic classes and embedding classes, along with Hua Luogeng (Loo-Keng Hua) and Qian Xuesen (Hsue-Shen Tsien), he was awarded the first prize of the Chinese National Natural Science Award in 1956, when this prize was established, and in 1957 he was elected as a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 1958, Wu was invited to give a lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM). In 1976, Wu created a new discipline called Mechanization of Mathematics based on his study on ancient Chinese arithmetic. Wu was invited for the second time to give an invited lecture at the 1986 International Congress of Mathematicians. In 1990, he was awarded the Mathematics Prize of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). In 1993, he received Tan Kah-kee (Chen Jia-geng)Prize in Math-Physical Sciences. Wu won the Hong Kong Qiu Shi Outstanding Scientist Award in 1994, when this prize began to be awarded. In 1997, Wu was awarded the Herbrand Award for Distinguished Contributions to Automated Reasoning, which is considered the highest award in the field of automated reasoning. Wu received the first State Preeminent Science and Technology Award due to his work on topology and mathematics mechanization in 2000, when this highest scientific and technological prize in China was established. In 2006, Wu together with American mathematician David Mumford received the Shaw Prize in Mathematics Science, which is considered to be the Nobel Prize of the East, for his contribution to the emerging interdisciplinary mathematics mechanization. The Shaw Prize Committee stated:“By introducing sophisticated mathematical ideas, Wu opened a whole new approach which has proved extremely effective on a wide range of problems.”“Wu’s method completely revolutionized the field, effectively provoking a paradigm shift.” His work “demonstrated the breadth of mathematics and he represents a new role model for the mathematics of the future.”

 

Wen-Tsun Wu, His Life and Legacy

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