Mathematician:René Frédéric Thom

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French mathematician who worked as a topologist, then moved on to aspects of what would later be called singularity theory.

One of the founders of catastrophe theory.

Introduced the concept of cobordism.

Fields Medal

René Frédéric Thom was awarded a Fields Medal in $\text {1958}$ at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom:

For creating the theory of 'Cobordisme' which has, within the few years of its existence, led to the most penetrating insight into the topology of differentiable manifolds.




  • Born: 2 September 1923 in Montbéliard, Doubs, France
  • Died: 25 October 2002 in Bures-sur-Yvette, France

Theorems and Definitions


  • 1952: Espaces fibrés en sphères et carrés de Steenrod (Ann. Sci. École Norm. Sup. Ser. 3 Vol. 69: pp. 109 – 182)
  • 1954: Quelques propriétés globales des variétés différentiables (Commentarii Mathematici Helvetici Vol. 28: pp. 17 – 86)
  • 1969: Ensembles et morphismes stratifiés (Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. Vol. 75: pp. 240 – 284)
  • 1972: Structural Stability and Morphogenesis
  • 1990: Semio Physics: A Sketch