Brief Bio of Thomas C. Hales

Thomas C. Hales is the Mellon Professor of Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University, a Tripos Part III from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University in representation theory under R. P. Langlands. He has held postdoctoral and faculty appointments at MSRI, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Michigan. In 1998, Hales, with the help of his graduate student Samuel Ferguson, proved Kepler’s 1611 conjecture (and part of Hilbert’s 18th problem) on the most efficient way to stack oranges. In 2014, he and his coworkers gave a formal proof of the Kepler conjecture in the computer proof assistant “HOL Light.”  

Hales has received the Chauvenet Prize of the MAA (2003), the Moore Prize (2004), the Robbins Prize of the AMS (2007), the Lester Ford Prize of the MAA (2008), and the Fulkerson Prize of the MPS and AMS (2009).  He is an inaugural Fellow of the AMS (2012).

His current project is "Formal Abstracts in Mathematics" which will transform mathematical statements from journal articles into a form that can be processed and manipulated by formal proof systems.