Paul Lévy was born in Paris on September 15, 1886. His grandfather was a professor of mathematics and his father, Lucien Lévy, was an Examiner at the Ecole Polytechnique for 23 years and published several papers in geometry. Paul was an excellent student in school, winning prizes in mathematics, Greek, physics, and chemistry. He attended the Ecole Polytechnique, publishing his first paper in 1905 at the age of 19. After graduation he spent a year in military service and then taught at the Ecole des Mines for three years. While there he also attended courses at the Sorbonne and at the College de France. He received his Doctor of Science degree in 1912 for a thesis in functional analysis. His examination committee consisted of Picard, Poincaré, and Hadamard.
In 1913 Lévy became a professor at Ecole Nationale des Mines. During World War I he worked for the French artillery in improving the defense against airplanes. In 1920 Lévy was appointed Professor of Analysis at Ecole Polytechnique, a position he held until 1959. Between 1905 and 1971 Lévy published 10 books and over 270 papers, primarily in the area of analysis and probability theory. Some of his published papers dealt with algebra, number theory, and geometry. Lévy died on December 15, 1971.