When I heard that a friend of mine finished his PhD thesis with 909 pages, I wondered if there has ever been a longer thesis in (pure) mathematics?

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    See academia.stackexchange.com/questions/46050/… for why questions like this are a bad fit. – StrongBad Sep 24 '16 at 16:00
  • @StrongBad What would you do if you wanted to answer this question? – J. Fabian Meier Sep 24 '16 at 16:37
  • Now that has the potential to be a good question for this site: soemthing like how to find statistics about theses in Math. But for an "exact" answer maybe maybe ask on a Purr Math email list server. – StrongBad Sep 24 '16 at 16:41
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    The answer to the question as asked is yes. For instance, in MathSciNet you find MR2685954 Thesis. Hugger, Jens. Computational aspects and adaptive solution methods in the finite element method for non-linear, parametrized problems. Thesis (Ph.D.)–University of Maryland, College Park. 1990. 1040 pp. ProQuest LLC. – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 24 '16 at 17:09
  • MathSciNet indexes data from thesis, as provided by ProQuest LLC. It does not yet catalogue theses from outside the States. I do not know of any reasonable way of looking for global statistics or "records". – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 24 '16 at 17:11

I am not sure that this is a good question, because the length of a thesis is obviously highly dependent on factors such as line spacing.

Having said that, it is possible to give a definitive answer to the question as written, even in the restrictive form asking about pure mathematics:


From MathSciNet:

Lan, Kai-Wen Arithmetic compactifications of PEL-type Shimura varieties. Thesis (Ph.D.)–Harvard University. 2008. 1077 pp.

Here it is.

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  • Thank you! You're of course right that page numbers are a very rough indicators of length (actually, the thesis you mentioned has large margins), but it seems to be the only measure for it is reasonable to find information. – J. Fabian Meier Sep 28 '16 at 7:07

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