The Grothendieck Biography Project

The translation of the first section of Alexandre Grothendieck's memoir Récoltes et Semailles is available once again on Ferment Magazine at:
Recoltes et Semailles

Announcement of the death of Alexandre Grothendieck
November 13, 2014
St. Girons, France

Some links:

(1) This article, written by local journalists of the town of St Girons and village of Lasserre is of considerable interest. It tells us something about the enforced isolation of Alexandre Grothendieck in the quarter century that he lived in the region. At the bottom of the article is a video newsclip on which his neighbors are interviewed.
Grothendieck Obituary Midi-Pyrenées

(2)NY Times Obituary: Math Enigma dies

(3) From "Not Even Wrong":
Alexandre Grothendieck 1928- 2014


On February 28th, 2010, Alexandre Grothendieck issued a morally wrong, mentally unbalanced ultimatum to the world. It demanded that all texts (mathematical or literary, relating to him or transmitting the ideas of his research over the last 2 decades) be removed from libraries and destroyed, that all re- publication of all previous work cease, and that persons who ignore this will bring down the shame of history upon their heads.

Morally wrong because no one, however gifted, can claim personal possession of scientific knowledge. Patents. yes; but mathematics has yet to be patented.

Mentally unbalanced because direct and indirect evidence over the last 20 years indicate that this is the case. In particular no person of sound mind would issue such an ultimatum.

However since then the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques has frozen publication of his important Memoir "Récoltes et Semailles"; Springer Verlag has frozen re-publication in a new, more easily readable format, of his SGA seminar lectures; and the Grothendieck Circle has withdraw the original French version of Récoltes et Semailles from its website.


Special Announcement February 28,2010

The following declaration, sent to various parties by Alexandre Grothendieck,has been posted (in French) on the homepage of the Grothendieck Circle.The English translation follows:

Declaration of my intention to refuse permission to allow my works to be published.
By Alexandre Grothendieck
I have no intention of publishing, or republishing, any work or text of which I am the author, in any form whatsoever, in electronic or print media, whether it be in the form of entire works or extracts, whether or not they be texts of a scientific or personal character, or any other kind, or in the form of personal letters addressed to others - as well as all translations of texts of which I am the author.

All editions or transmission of such texts which have been produced in the past without my express permission, or shall be made in the future as long as I am alive, which will or has been done in opposition to my will, as it is precisely expressed herein, will be deemed illegitimate in my eyes.

To the degree that I become aware of them, I will insist to the makers of these pirate editions, or any other publications including, without my express permission, texts from my own hand (apart from possible citations of a few lines at most), that they immediately withdraw these works from the marketplace; that the directors of libraries holding copies of my works, that these works be removed at once.

If my intentions as an author, as clearly expressed here, are treated as dead-letter, then let the shame of their contempt for me fall upon the heads of those responsible for those illegitimate editions, and on the directors of the libraries that harbor them. (From the moment that one or the other be informed of my intentions)

Made at my residence January 3,2010 AG


This is to let the VERY MUCH respected Dr. Grothendieck know, that I do not find sufficient grounds in this declaration, to withdraw publication of my very imperfect (unauthorized) translation into English of the Introduction and Promenades sections of "Récoltes et Semailles".

I am a private individual, not a corporation.It is well-known that Dr. Grothendieck signed over all the rights to his works to Dr. Jean Malgoire more than a decade ago.He does not speak of preparing any sort of lawsuit, rather he asks us to 'avoid the shame' of treating him with 'contempt'. I don't hold him in contempt, therefore I doubt very much that I will find myself gripped by a sense of shame.Sincerely Yours, Dr. Roy Lisker


The complete text of Recoltes et Semailles, despite the tremendous labor of Alain Herreman, can NO LONGER be read in French on the Grothendieck Circle website.Go to:

Grothendieck Circle
and bear witness to the notorious absence of R&S and many other key documents!

Uploaded July 29,2008
The Quest for Alexandre Grothendieck, June1988


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