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Mathematician Louis de Branges was the first winner (in 1989) of the Ostrowski Prize for achievement in pure mathematics. De Branges won the prize for his 1984 proof of the Bieberbach conjecture, a complex mathematical notion that had remained unproven since it was first proposed by Ludwig Bieberbach in 1916. De Branges was born in Paris, and moved with his family to the United States in 1941. He earned a doctorate from Cornell University in 1957, and in 1962 became a professor of mathematics at Purdue University, a post he has held ever since. Despite his successes, de Branges is a controversial figure in mathematics; his techniques are so dense and esoteric that his proofs are considered difficult to verify. De Branges announced in 2004 that he had solved another famous math problem, a theory of prime numbers known as the Riemann hypothesis. Though de Branges published his proposed proof on his web site, it has yet to be verified by other mainstream mathematicians.

A 2004 press release from Purdue University stated that although his full name is Louis de Branges de Bourcia, he prefers to be called simply Louis de Branges. The name is pronounced *de BRONZH*… The Riemann hypothesis is named for the German mathematician Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866)… De Branges’s 2004 proof of the Riemann hypothesis says, among other things, that “The Riemann hypothesis for Hilbert spaces of entire functions denies the existence of paired zeros for the defining functions of Hilbert spaces of entire functions which inherit a maximal dissipative transformation other than a shift.”

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