The Life And Legacy Of Austin Stoermer Coleman


Austin Stoermer Coleman was a renowned American mathematician who made significant contributions to the field of algebraic geometry. Born on November 1, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois, he spent his early years studying at the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1952, followed by a Ph.D. in 1955.

Early Career

After completing his doctoral studies, Coleman spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, before taking up a position as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. During his time at Michigan, he began collaborating with Alexander Grothendieck, one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century, on a project to develop a new theory of algebraic geometry.

Together, Coleman and Grothendieck made groundbreaking contributions to the field, including the development of the theory of schemes, which revolutionized algebraic geometry and became a fundamental tool in the study of algebraic varieties.

Career at Harvard

In 1963, Coleman joined the faculty at Harvard University, where he remained for the rest of his career. During his time at Harvard, he continued his work on algebraic geometry, making significant contributions to the study of abelian varieties, modular forms, and p-adic analysis.

He also mentored numerous graduate students, many of whom went on to become leading mathematicians in their own right. Coleman’s influence on the field of mathematics was recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the National Medal of Science in 1997.


Coleman’s contributions to algebraic geometry and number theory have had a lasting impact on the field of mathematics. His work on p-adic analysis, in particular, has been instrumental in the development of the Langlands program, a far-reaching and ambitious project that seeks to unify different areas of mathematics through the study of automorphic forms and their associated Galois representations.

Despite his many achievements, Coleman remained humble and dedicated to his work throughout his life. He passed away on March 24, 2014, at the age of 83, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking mathematical research and a deep commitment to the pursuit of knowledge.


Austin Stoermer Coleman was a brilliant mathematician whose work continues to influence and inspire researchers in the field of algebraic geometry and number theory. His dedication to his craft, his humility, and his commitment to the pursuit of knowledge serve as an inspiration to all who seek to make a lasting contribution to the world of mathematics.

It is fitting that we continue to honor and celebrate his life and legacy, and to remember the many ways in which he has enriched our understanding of the world around us.