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Atle Selberg papers


The Atle Selberg papers consist of the mathematical papers, professional correspondence, and personal materials of Norwegian mathematician Atle Selberg. The majority of the papers document Selberg's work following his emigration to the United States and appointment to the Institute for Advanced Study Faculty from approximately 1951-2007. Select items from Selberg's early life as well as honors, awards, and remembrances following his passing in 2007 are also included in the collection.


  • Creation: 1920-2007


Conditions Governing Access

Per the conditions of the donor of this material, all materials listed are available for research. Additional materials have not been included in this finding aid and have been restricted pending the review of mathematicians Dennis Hejhal and Peter Sarnak as stipulated by the Deed of Gift.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are welcome to publish, reproduce, and use the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center’s holdings in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. Under the Fair Use doctrine, users may freely reproduce materials for personal research, teaching, and/or scholarship. Under the same doctrine, users may cite or publish selected passages and/or quotations for comment and criticism. In accordance to U.S. Copyright Law, researchers seeking to reproduce and/or publish materials in the entirety and/or for commercial purposes will require the permission of the copyright holder.

The Institute for Advanced Study holds the copyright to materials generated by Institute employees over the course of their work for the Institute. Where the Institute for Advanced Study holds the copyright, researchers are free to reproduce materials for one-time, non-commercial purposes. For all other cases, researchers are responsible for contacting the Archives Center to request permission at: For all materials for which the Institute is not the copyright holder, researchers that choose to pursue publication and/or reproduction are responsible for determining the individual who does hold the copyright and requesting permission directly from that individual. Researchers with questions regarding the reproduction or use of archival materials can contact the Archives Center to request help at:

Biographical / Historical

Norwegian mathematician Atle Selberg was appointed Professor in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1951. He was Professor Emeritus from 1987 until his death in 2007. Throughout a career spanning more than six decades, Selberg made significant contributions to modular forms, Riemann and other zeta functions, analytic number theory, sieve methods, discrete groups, and trace formula. The impact of his work is evident from the many mathematical terms that bear his name: the Selberg Trace Formula, the Selberg Sieve, the Selberg Integral, the Selberg Class, the Rankin-Selberg L-Function, the Selberg Eigenvalue Conjecture, and the Selberg Zeta Function.


18.0 linear feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into the following five series: Correspondence, Institute for Advanced Study Chronological Files, Mathematical Papers, Photographs, and Recent Additions.

Custodial History

Following Atle Selberg's death in 2007, mathematician Dennis Hejhal retrieved the bulk of his papers from Selberg's home and office. Hejhal worked alongside Peter Sarnak and Betty Compton Selberg to ensure the materials would be preserved. Subsequently in 2009 and later in 2012, Betty Compton Selberg formally donated the bulk of Selberg's papers to the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center to be made avaiable.

Existence and Location of Copies

Archivists have created digital surrogates for selected materials from this collection. The Photographs series has been digitized in full and digital surrogates can be access via the Institute for Advanced Study's digital repository Albert.

Processing Information

Archivists received an initial donation of professional correspondence and files related to Institute for Advanced Study administrative matterils in 2009. Upon receipt, Archivists rehoused materials into acid-free containers and arranged material alphabetically by correspondent and chronologically by year.

Upon the receipt of additional materials in 2012, archivists created a series to include photographs and another to include mathematical papers. As stipulated by the conditions of the gift, mathematicians Dennis Hejhal and Peter Sarnak reviewed and organized the mathematical papers in preparation of their donation. These materials were reviewed, arranged, and described prior to reciept and their order remains intact to assist public access to the collection.

Guide to the Atle Selberg papers
Shelby White and Leon Levy Staff compiled this finding aid.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
This finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2021-10-14: Caitlin Rizzo revised this finding aid to comply with DACS standards.