Professor Sir Michael Atiyah, 1929 - 2019

Michael Atiyah

We are saddened to hear of the death of Professor Sir Michael Atiyah OM FRS on 11 January. Sir Michael served on the Advisory Board of IASH for eight years, and was a stalwart supporter of our Fellows. Professor Jo Shaw, previous Director of IASH, said, “He was an extraordinary intellectual and I was grateful for the work he did supporting IASH.” Advisory Board member Christine Wilson said, “I was amazed and rather overawed to find myself sitting alongside him on IASH’s Board where he was a fervent supporter of knowledge and internationalism, yet wore his astonishing intellect so lightly. He was always wonderful company.”

Sir Michael was born in London in 1929, and brought up in Sudan and Egypt. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a BA and then a doctorate in mathematics in 1955, and would later become Master of the College. His career also took him to Oxford and Princeton.  He won the Fields Medal in 1966 and the Abel Prize in 2004, among a string of awards. He was knighted in 1983. From 1997, Sir Michael was an Honorary Professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh.

Our thoughts are with his family.

A selection of tributes:


BBC News

New York Times

The Royal Society

School of Mathematics

Princeton Institute of Advanced Study

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics