Agnes Scott College

Idun Reiten

Idun Reiten

January 1, 1942 -

Idun Reiten was born on January 1, 1942, in Klaebu, Norway. Both her parents had a strong interest in mathematics and this love was passed on to their daughter. When she was only 12 years old she was one of only five participants to solve all 10 problems in a 10-week math competition that was part of a radio show from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Reiten earned a Masters degree in mathematics in 1968 from the University of Oslo with a thesis on a problem in number theory. In 1971 she became only the second Norwegian woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics when she wrote her dissertation on "Trivial Extensions and Gorenstein Rings" at the University of Illinois. Her advisor, Robert Fossum, whom she had met while he was a visiting professor at Oslo, describes her as "one of the best PhD students to ever attend the University of Illinois" [2]. After a brief time at MIT as a Lecturer, she returned to Norway in 1974 to teach in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Trondheim (which became the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 1996). She was appointed Professor of Mathematics in 1982.

Reiten works in the area of representation theory of finite dimensional algebras, commutative algebras, and noncommutative algebraic geometry. She has over 130 publications and has written one book, Representation Theory of Artin Algebras, with Maurice Auslander and Sverre Smalo [Google Books Preview]. Reiten received the Humboldt Research Prize in 2005, the Mobius Prize for outstanding research in algebra in 2007 from the Norwegian Research Council, and the 2009 Fridtjof Nansen Award from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The last award was presented to her for "her original and profound contributions to algebra and representation theory."

Reiten was elected to the Royal Swedish Society of Science and Letters in 2007. She presented the 2010 Emmy Noether Lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2010 in Hyderabad. A special conference was held in her honor in March 2012 in recognition of her 70th birthday.


  1. Idun Reiten's homepage at NTNU
  2. Peterson, Doug. "The Problem Solver," College of Liberal Arts and Sciences News, University of Illinois (February 2012)
  3. MathSciNet [Subscription required]
  4. Author Profile at zbMath
  5. Mathematics Genealogy Project

Photo Credit: Photograph is from the Oberwolfach Photo Collection, copyright MFO.