Set theory mathematician Paul Cohen dies

April 2, 2007

Trailblazing mathematician Paul Cohen, who developed a technique known as forcing to test a hypothesis, has died in Stanford, Calif., at the age of 72.

Family members told The New York Times Cohen died March 23 of lung disease.

In the 1960s as a professor at Stanford University, he took up the challenge of set theory from the 19th century, and developed the continuum hypothesis, the question involved in establishing the sizes of infinite sets of real numbers, the report said.

As a result, Cohen received the Fields Medal for outstanding achievement from the International Mathematical Union in 1966.

Peter Sarnak, a former student of Cohen's who is a professor of mathematics at Princeton, told the Times Cohen "introduced techniques that will probably allow us to solve many other things, opening a floodgate of mathematical activity."

Cohen is survived by his wife, three sons, a sister and brother.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: The kids are all right: Children with 3-way DNA are healthy

Related Stories

Neutron bomb inventor Samuel Cohen dies in LA

December 2, 2010

(AP) -- Neutron bomb inventor Samuel T. Cohen, who designed the tactical nuclear weapon intended to kill people but do minimal damage to structures, has died, his son said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Amber specimen offers rare glimpse of feathered dinosaur tail

December 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered a dinosaur tail complete with its feathers trapped in a piece of amber. The finding reported in Current Biology on December 8 helps to fill in details of the dinosaurs' feather structure and evolution, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.