Vendredi, 6 décembre, 16h00 / Friday, December 6, 4:00 pm

Centre de recherches mathématiques
Université de Montréal
Pavillon André-Aisenstadt,
Salle 6214

TAKING THE LONG VIEW - The Life of Shiing-shen Chern

Un film réalisé par / A film by George Csicsery

Projection du film et discussion avec le réalisateur, animée par Vasek Chvatal (Université Concordia). Visioning session followed by a discussion with the director, hosted by Vasek Chvatal (Concordia University).



TAKING THE LONG VIEW examines the life of a remarkable mathematician whose classical Chinese philosophical ideas built bridges between China and the West. Shiing-shen Chern (1911–2004) is one of the fathers of modern differential geometry. Chern studied in Hamburg and Paris during the 1930s and became known for building on the work of Elie Cartan. His most important discoveries began in the 1940s, when he found an elegant and simple proof of the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem and introduced characteristic classes, now called Chern classes. During and after World War II, he traveled between the Princeton and China. In 1960, he moved to Berkeley, where he created a center for geometry, and was cofounder of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. During the 1980s he helped China recover from the destruction of academic life during the Cultural Revolution. By 1986, with support from the Chinese government, he helped establish what is now called the Chern Institute of Mathematics in Tianjin.


GEORGE PAUL CSICSERY, a writer and independent filmmaker, has produced 32 documentaries on historical, ethnographic, and cultural and mathematical subjects, including Where the Heart Roams (1987), Hungry for Monsters (2003), Troop 214 (2008). The Thursday Club (2005), and Songs Along A Stony Ro (2011).

His screenplay Alderman's Story, about events surrounding King Philip's War, was awarded first prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition (2005).

His films on mathematical subjects include N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdos (1993), which received extensive television distribution in the U. S. and abroad, including on the Sundance Channel, and public television syndication via APT. Taking the Long View: The Life of Shiing-shen Chern (2011), a portrait of mathematician S. S. Chern produced for his centenary celebrations with MSRI is about to be broadcast on public television stations via NETA. Hard Problems: The Road to the World's Toughest Math Contest (2008) tells the story of the 2006 U.S. team at the International Mathematical Olympiad. It was produced by the Mathematical Association of America and broadcast through APT in 2009. Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem (2008), a biographical doc about a pioneer woman in American mathematics, was narrated by Danica McKellar, and broadcast via APT.

In 2009 George Csicsery was awarded the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award for bringing mathematics to nonmathematical audiences. See for a fuller list.

Since 2010 he has produced 30 long-form biographical interviews for the Simons Foundation Science Lives series: scientists