Jacques Hadamard (8/12/1865-17/10/1963)

Jacques Hardamard was born on the 8th of December 1865. He was a Jewish born French mathematician widely known for his major contribution in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equation. He studied in the prestigious École Normale Supérieure until 1892 when he obtained his doctorate.

Hadamard received the Prix Poncelet in 1898 for his research achievements over the preceding ten years. His research turned more towards mathematical physics from the time he took up the posts in Paris, yet he always argued strongly that he was a mathematician, not a physicist. He believed that it was the rigour of his work which made it mathematics. In particular he worked on the partial differential equations of mathematical physics producing results of outstanding importance. His famous 1898 work on geodesics on surfaces of negative curvature laid the foundations of symbolic dynamics. Among the topics he considered were elasticity, geometrical optics, hydrodynamics and boundary value problems. He introduced the concept of a well-posed initial value and boundary value problem.

He died In 1962, when he was 96 years old following by his grandson Étienne death who was killed in a mountaineering accident. This seemed to finally kill Hadamard's spirit and he did not leave his house after this, almost waiting to die.


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