Lars Valerian Ahlfors
(April 18, 1907 - October 11, 1996)
Lars Valerian Ahlfors was a Finnish mathematician, remembered for his workin the field of Riemann surfaces [?] and his text on complex analysis.
He was born in Helsinki, the son of a Professor of Engineering. He studied atHelsinki University [?] from 1924, graduating in 1928 having studied underErnst Lindelöf and Rolf Nevanlinna.
He assisted Nevanlinna in 1929 with his work on Denjoy's conjecture on thenumber of asymptotic values of an entire function. Ahlfors was appointedlecturer in mathematics at the University of Turku. He completed his doctoratein 1930.
In 1935 he went to Harvard University and in 1936 he was one of the first tobe awarded the Fields Medal. He returned to Finland in 1938 to take up a postat theUniversity of Helsinki, but the outbreak of war led to problems althoughAhlfors was unfit for military service. He was offered a post at the FederalPolytechnic Institute atZurichUniversity in 1944 and finally managed totravelled there in March 1945. He did not enjoy his time in Switzerland andjumped at a chance to leave, returning to work at Harvard where he remaineduntil he retired in 1977, he was William Caspar Graustein Professor ofMathematics from 1964. He was awarded the Vihuri Prize in 1968 and theWolf Prize in Mathematics in 1981.
His book Complex Analysis (1953) is still the standard text for most courses on the topic. Ahlfors wrote several other significant books, including Riemannsurfaces (1960) and conformal invariants (1973).