### Grothendieck Said: “Stop”

#### Posted by John Baez

Recently a team of mathematicians have been trying to republish the famous series of papers called “SGA”, or “Séminaire de Géométrie Algébrique”. This was largely the work of Alexander Grothendieck, who had refused to let Springer Verlag republish the original version.

As the Wikipedia article explains:

In the 1990s it became obvious that the lack of availability of the SGA was becoming more and more of a problem to researchers and graduate students in algebraic geometry: not only are the copies in book form too few for the growing number of researchers, but they are also difficult to read because of the way they are typeset (on an electric typewriter, with mathematical formulae written by hand). Thus, under the impetus of various mathematicians from several countries, a project was formed of re-publishing SGA in a more widely-available electronic format and using LaTeX for typesetting; also, various notes are to be added to correct for minor mistakes or obscurities. The result should be published by the Société Mathématique de France. Legal permission to reprint the works was obtained from every author except Alexander Grothendieck himself, who cannot be contacted; it was decided to proceed without his explicit agreement on the grounds that his refusal for the SGA to be re-published by Springer-Verlag was an objection against Springer and not one of principle.

“Cannot be contacted” — because, as you probably know, in 1991 he burned thousands of pages of his own work and left home for an undisclosed location, making himself inaccessible, with a few exceptions.

However…

…recently Grothendieck has made his presence felt again. On Yves Laszlo’s webpage devoted to re-editing of the fourth volume of SGA, it now says (in French):

Alexander Grothendieck unfortunately wished that work of republication of SGA cease. The pages which were devoted to this are thus closed.

Anyone know more about this?

## Re: Grothendieck Said: “Stop”

http://sbseminar.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/grothendiecks-letter/

(Thanks to Scott Morrison on the

n-Forum.)