Gerd Faltings was born 28 July 1954 in Gelsenkirchen, an industrial town in the Ruhrgebiet in Germany. He got his high school diploma there in 1972 and started to study mathematics in Muenster. In 1978 he finished with a diploma and a PhD, both about topics in commutative algebra. The advisor was professor Nastold.
The academic year 1978/79 he spent at Harvard, financed by a stipend from the DFG (the German science foundation). After that he worked as an assistant to professor Nastold in Muenster. He was appointed full professor in Wuppertal 1982, in Princeton 1985, and became a director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Mathematics in Bonn 1994. He is widowed and has two daughters.
His first mathematical work was in commutative algebra. Inspired by L.Szpiro from Paris he got interested in Arakelov theory. His first result was a Riemann-Roch theorem for arithmetic surfaces. Later unexpectedly the Mordell conjecture for numberfields could be shown, using p-adic Galois representations.
Later he replaced certain ad hoc arguments about compactifications of moduli spaces and p-adics by systematic treatments. Also in diophantine equations he extended ideas of Vojta about diophantine approximation to higher dimensions. Finally inspired by lectures of E.Witten he got interested in vectorbundles on curves.
He has recieved various awards, including the Fields medal in 1986.
Mathematician, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, Max Planck Society