Michael Hartley Freedman
April 21, 1951 (age 71)
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
University of California, Berkeley
|Known for||Work on the Generalized Poincaré conjecture in dimension 4|
|Awards||Sloan Research Fellowship (1980)|
MacArthur Fellowship (1984)
Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry (1986)
Fields Medal (1986)
National Medal of Science (1987)
Guggenheim Fellowship (1994)
|Institutions||Microsoft Station Q|
UC Santa Barbara
UC San Diego
Institute for Advanced Study
|Doctoral advisor||William Browder|
|Doctoral students||Ian Agol|
Michael Hartley Freedman (born April 21, 1951) is an American mathematician, at Microsoft Station Q, a research group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1986, he was awarded a Fields Medal for his work on the 4-dimensional generalized Poincaré conjecture. Freedman and Robion Kirby showed that an exotic ℝ4 manifold exists.
Freedman was born in Los Angeles, California, in the United States. His father, Benedict Freedman, was an American Jewish aeronautical engineer, musician, writer, and mathematician. His mother, Nancy Mars Freedman, performed as an actress and also trained as an artist. His parents cowrote a series of novels together.  He entered the University of California, Berkeley, but dropped out after two semesters. In the same year he wrote a letter to Ralph Fox, a Princeton professor at the time, and was admitted to graduate school so in 1968 he continued his studies at Princeton University where he received Ph.D. degree in 1973 for his doctoral dissertation titled Codimension-Two Surgery, written under the supervision of William Browder. After graduating, Freedman returned to Berkeley, where he was a lecturer in the department of mathematics until 1975. He left Berkeley to become a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. In 1976 he was appointed assistant professor in the department of mathematics at the University of California, San Diego. He spent the year 1980/81 at IAS, returning to UCSD, where in 1982 he was promoted to professor. He was appointed the Charles Lee Powell chair of mathematics at UCSD in 1985.
Freedman has received numerous awards and honors including Sloan and Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the National Medal of Science. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Mathematical Society. In addition to winning a Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in 1986 in Berkeley, he was an Invited Speaker at the ICM in 1983 in Warsaw and at the ICM in 1998 in Berlin. He currently works at Microsoft Station Q at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his team is involved in the development of the topological quantum computer.