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Concept# Simon Donaldson

Summary

Sir Simon Kirwan Donaldson (born 20 August 1957) is an English mathematician known for his work on the topology of smooth (differentiable) four-dimensional manifolds, Donaldson–Thomas theory, and his contributions to Kähler geometry. He is currently a permanent member of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University in New York, and a Professor in Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London.
Donaldson's father was an electrical engineer in the physiology department at the University of Cambridge, and his mother earned a science degree there. Donaldson gained a BA degree in mathematics from Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1979, and in 1980 began postgraduate work at Worcester College, Oxford, at first under Nigel Hitchin and later under Michael Atiyah's supervision. Still a postgraduate student, Donaldson proved in 1982 a result that would establish his fame. He published the result in a paper "Self-dual connections and the topology of smooth 4-manifolds" which appeared in 1983. In the words of Atiyah, the paper "stunned the mathematical world."
Whereas Michael Freedman classified topological four-manifolds, Donaldson's work focused on four-manifolds admitting a differentiable structure, using instantons, a particular solution to the equations of Yang–Mills gauge theory which has its origin in quantum field theory. One of Donaldson's first results gave severe restrictions on the intersection form of a smooth four-manifold. As a consequence, a large class of the topological four-manifolds do not admit any smooth structure at all. Donaldson also derived polynomial invariants from gauge theory. These were new topological invariants sensitive to the underlying smooth structure of the four-manifold. They made it possible to deduce the existence of "exotic" smooth structures—certain topological four-manifolds could carry an infinite family of different smooth structures.
After gaining his DPhil degree from Oxford University in 1983, Donaldson was appointed a Junior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.

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MATH-344: Introduction to differential geometry

This course will serve as a first introduction to the geometry of Riemannian manifolds, which form an indispensible tool in the modern fields of differential geometry, analysis and theoretical physics

Sir Simon Kirwan Donaldson (born 20 August 1957) is an English mathematician known for his work on the topology of smooth (differentiable) four-dimensional manifolds, Donaldson–Thomas theory, and his contributions to Kähler geometry. He is currently a permanent member of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University in New York, and a Professor in Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London. Donaldson's father was an electrical engineer in the physiology department at the University of Cambridge, and his mother earned a science degree there.

In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point. More precisely, an -dimensional manifold, or -manifold for short, is a topological space with the property that each point has a neighborhood that is homeomorphic to an open subset of -dimensional Euclidean space. One-dimensional manifolds include lines and circles, but not lemniscates. Two-dimensional manifolds are also called surfaces. Examples include the plane, the sphere, and the torus, and also the Klein bottle and real projective plane.

In mathematics, a 4-manifold is a 4-dimensional topological manifold. A smooth 4-manifold is a 4-manifold with a smooth structure. In dimension four, in marked contrast with lower dimensions, topological and smooth manifolds are quite different. There exist some topological 4-manifolds which admit no smooth structure, and even if there exists a smooth structure, it need not be unique (i.e. there are smooth 4-manifolds which are homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic).