5 December 2021

Jacques Tits, 1930 – 2021

Richard Elwes

The EMS is sad to hear of the recent death of Jacques Tits, Emeritus Professor at Collège de France, and winner with John Thompson of the 2008 Abel Prize.

Jacques Tits (2008) (cropped)

Jacques Tits was a highly influential group-theorist, proving the celebrated "Tits Alternative" (that every finitely generated linear group either has a solvable subgroup of finite index or contains a free subgroup of rank 2). Probably his most important contribution was the development of group-theoretic "Buildings", a profound unifying idea which has subsequently had deep applications in diverse mathematical fields. For more details see the Abel Prize laudation (link).

Tits served the mathematical community in many other ways, including as Editor-in-Chief for mathematical publications at Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, 1980- 1999. Besides the Abel Prize, he received numerous honours including the Prix Décennal de Mathématique from the Belgian government, the Grand Prix of the French Academy of Sciences, the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, and the Cantor Medal from the German Mathematical Society.

On behalf of the European mathematical community, we send our condolences to Jacques Tits' family, friends, and colleagues.

Addendum: In 2013 the EMS Publishing House (now EMS Press) released the collected works of Jacques Tits in four volumes, a major mathematical publishing project. Link here.

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