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Quelques réflexions et souvenirs sur Paul Lévy. (Some reflections and reminiscences on Paul Lévy). (French) Zbl 0658.60003
Les processus stochastiques, Coll. Paul Lévy, Palaiseau/Fr. 1987, Astérisque 157-158, 13-28 (1988).
[For the entire collection see Zbl 0649.00017.]
This is a scientific biography of Paul Lévy (1886-1971) written by his son-in-law. Lévy was Professor at the École Polytechnique (1920- 1958). For this reason he had almost no disciples and the French university world did not appreciate him all the more so since scholars such as Hadamard and “Bourbaki” were not really interested in the theory of probability. Lévy was not elected to the Académie des Sciences until 1964 and his works were recognized in France only after having been acknowledged by American mathematicians.
Describing Lévy’s fundamental achievements (though not providing a bibliography of his writings) and calling him “un virtuose d’acrobatie mathématique”, the author concludes that the modern theory of probability was created, in the first place, by Kolmogorov and Lévy despite the latter’s refusal to make use of such notions as Borel field of events.
Reviewer: O.B.Sheynin
MSC:
60-03 History of probability theory
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century