Séminaire Histoire des mathématiques
organisé par l'équipe GEAR
Jesse Douglas, minimal surfaces, and the first Fields Medals
17 février 2010 - 14:00Salle de conférences IRMAIn 1936 the American mathematician Jesse Douglas was awarded one of the first two Fields Medals for his work on the Plateau problem and the theory of minimal surfaces, but today very little is known about him and the functional on which he based his work is still sometimes misunderstood. I will give an account of the Plateau problem, a brief biography of Douglas, and explain the significance of his contributions and the resulting controversies with Radó and Courant.