Like many fellow mathematicians, I was very sad to hear the news that Alexander Grothendieckpassed away yesterday. The word “genius” is overused; or rather, does not possess sufficiently fine gradations. I know quite a few mathematical geniuses, but Grothendieck was a singularity. His ideas were so original, so profound, and so revolutionary – and he had so many of them! – that I will not even attempt to summarize his contributions to mathematics here. Rather, I thought that I would share some of my favorite passages from the fascinating Grothendieck-Serre Correspondence, published in a bilingual edition by the AMS and SMF. They illuminate in brief flashes what made Grothendieck so extraordinary — but also human. They also illustrate how influential Serre was on Grothendieck’s mathematical development. Before I begin, here is a quote from another wonderful book, Alexander Grothendieck: A Mathematical Portrait, edited by Leila Schneps:

…the…

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