Claude Berge (June 5, 1926 – June 30, 2002) was a French mathematician, recognized as one of the modern founders of combinatorics and graph theory. He is particularly remembered for his famous conjectures on perfect graphs and for Berge's lemma, which states that a matching M in a graph G is maximum if and only if there is in G no augmenting path with respect to M. He wrote five books, on game theory (1957), graph theory and its applications (1958), topological spaces (1959), principles of combinatorics (1968) and hypergraphs (1970), each being translated in several languages and becoming a classic.
Berge cofounded the French literary group Oulipo with novelists and other mathematicians in 1960 to create new forms of literature. In this association, he wrote a murder mystery based on a mathematical theorem: Who killed the Duke of Densmore?
He received the EURO X gold medal from the European Association of Operational Research in 1989 and the Euler Prize in 1995.
He was at the Centre d'Analyse et de Mathématique Sociales (CAMS), a research center of École des hautes études en sciences sociales. He was also a visiting professor at Princeton University (1957), New York University (1985) and a frequent visitor to the Indian statistical institute, Calcutta.
