Paul Seymour, British mathematician

Paul Seymour, British mathematician

Wed, 15/06/2022


Doctor Honoris causa of ENS de Lyon, June 23, 2022


Paul Seymour is currently a professor of mathematics at Princeton University in the United States.

He studied at Oxford University, where in 1975 he defended a thesis in mathematics – Matroids, hypergraphs and the max-flow min-cut theorem – under the supervision of Aubrey William Ingleton.

From 1974 to 1976 he was a College Research Fellow at the University College of Swansea, then a Junior Research Fellow from 1976 to 1980 at Merton College, Oxford, and in 1978-1979 at the University of Waterloo.

He became an Associate and then a Full professor at Ohio State University in Columbus between 1980 and 1983 and initiated a fruitful collaboration with Neil Robertson that continued for many years. From 1983 to 1996, he worked at Bellcore in Morristown. In parallel, he was Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University from 1984 to 1987 and at the University of Waterloo from 1988 to 1993. He became a Professor at Princeton University in 1996 and is also editor-in-chief, with Carsten Thomassen, from the Journal of Graph Theory.

Paul Seymour made several notable advances in mathematics and theoretical computer science, on regular matroids, graph mining (Robertson–Seymour theorem), the strong perfect graph theorem, and Hadwiger's conjecture. One of his best-known works is his contribution to simplifying the proof of the four-colour theorem. This theorem states that every planar map can be coloured using a maximum of four colours so that two countries sharing a border do not have the same colour.

A pioneer in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science – particularly graph theory, optimisation, and algorithms – Paul Seymour has an exemplary career, and the impact of his work has earned him extensive international recognition.



Some of his awards and distinctions

Fulkerson Prize in 1979, 1994, 2006 and 2009
George Pólya Prize award by the SIAM in 1983 and 2004
Sloan Research Fellowships in 1983
Ostrowski Prize In 2003
Doctorat Honoris causa, University of Waterloo in 2008
Doctorat Honoris causa, Technical University of Denmark in 2013

Crédits photo : Bryce Vickmark