List of Biographies
- Ludwig Berwald
(1883–1942). Born in Prague. Studied mathematics in Munich and became a full professor at the German
Charles University in Prague. His scientific work is mainly in differential geometry, notably on Finsler
geometry and on spray geometry, i.e., path spaces. He died in Poland after having been deported by the
German authorities just because he was Jewish.
- Enea Bortolotti (1896–1934). Born in Rome. After a break during the First World War,
he received his Ph.D. in 1920 at Pisa; he was particularly influenced by L. Bianchi. After teaching at the
medical school, he became professor of geometry at the Univerity of Cagliari in 1928. From there he moved
on to the same position at the University of Florence in 1934. Despite his premature death,
Bortolotti published about a hundred papers, notably in differential geometry.
- Elie Joseph Cartan (1869–1951). Born in Dolomien near
Chambéry, France. Student at l‘École Normale since 1888, he received his Ph.D. in 1894 with
a thesis in which he completed Killing’s classification of semisimple algebras. He lectured at
Montpellier (1894–1903), Lyon (1896–1903), Nancy (1903–1909), and Paris (1909–1940). His
following work on the representation of semisimple Lie groups combines group theory, classical
geometry, differential geometry, and topology. From 1904 he worked on differential equations
and differential geometry, and developed a theory of moving frames (calculus of differential
forms). He also contributed to the geometry of symmetric spaces and published on general
relativity and its geometric extensions as well as on the theory of spinors. For his Collected
Works, cf. .
- van Dantzig
- David van Dantzig (1900–1959). Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Studied mathematics at the University of Amsterdam. Worked first on differential geometry,
electrodynamics and unified field theory. Known as co-founder, in 1946, of the Mathematical Centre in
Amsterdam and by his role in establishing mathematical statistics as a subdiscipline in the Netherlands.
- Paul Dienes
(1982–1952). Born in Tokaj, Hungary. Studied mathematics. From 1929–1945 Reader, and from 1945–48
Professor at Birkbeck College, University of London.
- de Donder
- Théophile Ernest de
Donder (1872–1957). Born in Brussels. Studied mathematics and physics at the University of
Brussels and received his doctorate in 1899. Professor of mathematical physics at the Université
libre de Bruxelles from 1911 to 1942. Member of the Royal Belgian Academy. Research on
variational calculus, general relativity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and wave mechanics.
- Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882–1944). Born in Kendal, England. Studied mathematics at
Owens College, Manchester and Trinity College, Cambridge. After some work in physics, moved
into astronomy in 1905 and was appointed to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. From 1914
director of the Cambridge Observatory. Fellow of the Royal Society. As a Quaker he became a
conscientious objector to military service during the First World War. Eddington made important
contributions to general relativity and astrophysics (internal structure of stars). In 1918, he led an
eclipse expedition from which the first indications resulted that Einstein’s general relativity
theory was correct. Wrote also on epistemology and the philosophy of science.
- Albert Einstein
(1879–1955). Born in Ulm, Württemberg (Germany). Studied physics and mathematics at
the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School (ETH) Zurich and received his doctor’s degree in 1905.
Lecturer at the University of Bern (Switzerland), Professor in Zurich, Prague (then belonging
to Austria), Berlin (Germany) and Princeton (U.S.A.). Nobel Prize 1921 for his work on the
light-electric effect (photon concept). Best known for his special and general relativity theories.
Important results in Brownian motion and the statistical foundations of radiation as a quantum
phenomenon. Worked for more than 30 years on Unified Field Theory.
- Luther Pfahler Eisenhart (1876–1965). Born in York, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Studied mathematics at John Hopkins University, Baltimore and received his doctorate in 1900.
Eisenhart taught at the University of Princeton from 1900, was promoted to professor in 1909
and remained there (as Dean of the mathematical Faculty and Dean of the Graduate School)
until his retirement in 1945. All his work is in differential geometry, including Riemannian and
non-Riemannian geometry and in group theory.
- Henri Eyraud (1892–1994).
Studied mathematics at the University of Paris and received his doctorate in 1926 with a thesis on
“Metrical spaces and physico-geometrical theories”. From 1930 professor of mathematics at the University
of Lyon and director of the Institute of “Financial and Assurance-Sciences”. Perhaps he considered his
papers on the geometry of unified field theory as a sin of his youth: In Poggendorff, among
the 33 papers listed, all are from his later main interest.
- Vladimir Aleksandrovich Fo(c)k (1898–1974). Born in St. Petersburg (renamed later
Petrograd and Leningrad). Studied at Petrograd University and spent his whole carrier at this
University. Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Fundamental contributions to quantum
theory (Fock space, Hartree–Fock method); also worked in and defended general relativity.
- Ferdinand Gonseth (1890–1975). Born in Sonvilier, Switzerland. Mathematician teaching
first at the University of Bern and then at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. His
interest were in the foundations of mathematics, geometry and in problems of space and time.
With G. Bachelard and P. Bernays he founded the philosophical review journal Dialectica.
- Jakob Grommer
(1879–1933). Born near Brest, then in Russia. First a Talmud student with a keen interest in mathematics.
Came to Göttingen to study mathematics and obtained his Ph.D. there. Worked with Einstein for at least
a decade (1917–1927) as his calculational assistant. He held a university position in Minsk from 1929 on and
later became a member of the Belorussian Academy of Sciences. From his youth he was inflicted with
- Banesh Hoffmann (1906–1986). Born in Richmond, England. Studied
mathematics and theoretical physics at Oxford University and received his doctorate in 1929.
Became an assistant at Princeton University and worked there with Einstein in 1932–1935.
(His name supplied the “H” in the EIH paper.) From 1939 professor at Queens College in New
York. His scientific interests were in relativity theory, tensor analysis, and quantum theory.
- Leopold Infeld (1889–1968). Born in Cracow, Poland. Studied at the University of Cracow
and received his doctorate in 1923. After teaching in Lwow/Lemberg, he became professor
of applied mathematics at the University of Toronto in 1938. Worked on unitary field theory
and quantum electrodynamics, with van der Waerden on spinors, worked with Born on
non-linear electrodynamics, and with Einstein on equations of motion (“EIH paper”).
- Theodor Franz
Eduard Kaluza (1885–1954). Born in Ratibor, Germany (now Raciborz, Poland). Studied mathematics at
the University of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia) and became a lecturer there in 1910. In 1929 he
received a professorship at the University of Kiel, and in 1935 was made full professor at the
University of Göttingen. He wrote only a handful of mathematical papers and a textbook on
“Higher mathematics for the practician” (cf. ).
- O. Klein
- Oskar Klein (1894–1977). Born in Mörby, Sweden. After work with Arrhenius in physical
chemistry, he met Kramers, then a student of Bohr, in 1917. Klein worked with Bohr in the
field of molecular physics and received his doctorate in 1921 at Stockholm Högskola. His first
research position was at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he worked on the
Zeeman effect. Back in Europe from 1925, he taught at Lund University and tried to connect
Kaluza’s work with quantum theory. In 1930 he became professor for mathematical physics at
Stockholm Högskola until retirement. His later work included quantum theory (Klein–Nishina
formula), superconductivity, and cosmology.
- Damodar D. Kosambi (1907–1966). Of Indian origin; born in
Goa he moved to America in 1918 with his learned father and graduated from Harvard University
in 1926 in mathematics, history and languages. Taught at the Muslim University of Aligarh
and, from 1932, at Ferguson College, Pune. Mathematician, historian, and Sanskrit scholar.
- Cornelius Lanczos (Kornél Löwy) (1893–1974). Born in Székesfehérvár (Hungary).
Studied physics and mathematics at the University of Budapest with Eötvös, Fejér, and Lax. Received
his doctorate in 1921, became scientific assistant at the University of Freiburg (Germany) and
lecturer at the University of Frankfurt am Main (Germany). Worked with Einstein in Berlin
1928–1929, then returned to Frankurt. Became a visiting professor at Purdue University in
1931 and came back on a professorship in 1932. Worked mainly in mathematical physics and
numerical analysis. After 1944 he held various posts in industry and in the National Bureau of
Standards. Left the U.S.A. during the McCarthy era and in 1952 followed an invitation by
Schrödinger to become head of the Theoretical Physics Department of the Dublin Institute for
- Tullio Levi-Civita (1873–1941). Born in Padua, Italy. Studied
mathematics and received his doctorate at the University of Padua. Was given the Chair of Mechanics
there and, in 1918, went to the University of Rome in the same position. Together with Ricci,
he developed tensor calculus and introduced covariant differentiation. He worked also in the
mechanical many-body problem, in hydrodynamics, general relativity theory, and unified field
theory. Strongly opposed to Fascism in Italy and dismissed from his professorship in 1938.
- Heinrich Mandel (1898– ). From 1928 lecturer at the University of Leningrad, and
from 1931 research work at the Physics Institute of this university.
- Walther Mayer (1887–1948). Studied
mathematics at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and at the University of Vienna
where he wrote his dissertation and became a Privatdozent (lecturer) with the title “professor”.
He had made himself a name in topology (“Mayer–Vietoris sequences”), and worked also in
differential geometry (well-known textbook “Duschek–Mayer” on differential geometry). In 1929 he
became Einstein’s assistant with the explicit understanding that he work with him on distant
parallelism. It seems that Mayer was appreciated much by Einstein and, despite being in his
forties, did accept this role as a collaborator of Einstein. After coming to Princeton with Einstein
in 1933, he got a position at the Mathematical Institute of Princeton University and became
an associate of the Institute for Advanced Study. Wrote a joint paper with T. Thomas on
“Field of parallel vectors in nonanalytic manifolds in the large.” Mayer died in 1948.
- As to the person of
H. Müntz, it is not obvious whether he can be identified with Dr. Ch. Müntz, a possibility following
from a paper of Ch. H. Müntz, presented to the Göttingen Academy by D. Hilbert in 1917. If it is the
same person, then H. Müntz seems to have been a mathematics teacher, first at the Odenwaldschule in
Heppenheim a.d. B. from 1918 to 1922(?), then, possibly for a short time in Göttingen (Friedländerweg
61), and from 1924 on in Berlin-Nikolassee, Herkrathstr. 5. I conclude this from the membership lists of the
Deutsche Mathematikervereinigung, which Müntz entered in 1913, and which gives a Berlin address since
July 1924 and lists him as “Prof.” in Berlin, in 1931. At the time, experienced teachers at
Gymnasium could carry the title of professor. In the Einstein archive, 26 letters of Einstein to Müntz
from the years 1927–1931 exist. The addresses show that Müntz went to Stockhom via Tallin.
In fact, Pais  writes that Müntz became a professor of mathematics at the University
of Leningrad but had to leave the Soviet Union in 1938 for Sweden. In fact, a document of
1931 states: “Prof. Hermann Mueninz, der einer der engeren wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiter
Albert Einsteins ist und gegenwärtig ein Lehramt für höhere Mathematik an der Leningrader
Universität bekleidet [...]” (, Dokument 144, p. 222). Sauer (, p.11) reports the life span of
Müntz to have been 1884–1956.
- Wolfgang Ernst Pauli
(1900–1958). Born in Vienna, Austria. Studied at the University of Munich with A. Sommerfeld who
recognised his great gifts. Received his doctorate in 1921 for a thesis on the quantum theory of ionised
molecular hydrogen. From October 1921 assistant of Max Born in Göttingen. After a year with Bohr,
Pauli, became a lecturer at the University of Hamburg in 1923. In 1928 he was appointed professor of
theoretical physics at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. From 1945–1950 guest professor at the
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He then returned to Zürich. Did important work in
quantum mechanics, quantum field theory and elementary particle theory (fourth quantum
number (spin), Pauli exclusion principle, prediction of neutrino). Fellow of the Royal Society.
Nobel Prize winner in 1954.
- George Yuri Rainich (1886–1968). Of Russian origin. He studied mathematics at universities in Odessa,
Göttingen, and Munich, taking his final exam at the University of Kazan in 1913. He then taught at
Kazan and Odessa until 1922, when he came to the United States of America. He was a Johnston Scholar at
Johns Hopkins University from 1923–1926 and then Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan
in Ann Arbor, U.S.A.
- Hans Reichenbach (1891–1953). Philosopher of science, neo-positivist. Professor in
Berlin, Istanbul, and Los Angeles. Wrote books on the foundations of relativity theory, probability,
and quantum mechanics.
- Ernst Reichenbächer
(1881–1944). Studied mathematics and received his doctorate from the University of Halle in 1903 under the
guidance of Albert Wangerin (a student of Franz Neumann in Königsberg). At first, Reichenbächer did
not enter an academic career, but started teaching in a Gymnasium in Wilhelmshaven in North Germany,
then in Königsberg on the Baltic Sea. In 1929 he became a Privatdozent (lecturer) at the University
of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). His courses covered special and general relativity,
the physics of fixed stars and galaxies with a touch on cosmology, and quantum mechanics.
In the fifth year of World War II he finally received the title of professor at the University
Königsberg, but in the same year was killed during a bombing raid on the city.
- Jan Arnoldus
Schouten (1883–1971). Born near Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Studied electrical engineering
at the Technical University (Hogeschool) of Delft and then mathematics at the University of
Leiden. His doctoral thesis of 1914 was on tensor analysis, a topic he worked on during his
entire academic career. From 1914 until 1943 he held a professorship in mathematics at the
University of Delft, and from 1948 to 1953 he was director of the Mathematical Research Centre at
the University of Amsterdam. He was a prolific writer, applying tensor analysis to Lie groups,
general relativity, unified field theory, and differential equations.
- Dirk J. Struik (1894–2000). Born in
Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Studied mathematics and physics at the University of Leiden
with Lorentz and de Sitter. Received his doctorate in 1922. Then worked with Schouten at the
University of Delft and, with a Rockefeller International Education Fellowship, moved to Rome
and Göttingen. After a collaboration with Wiener, in 1926 he received a lectureship at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Ma. where he became full professor in
1940. He stayed on the MIT mathematics faculty until 1960. As a professed Marxist he was
suspended from teaching duties during the McCarthy period but was reinstated in 1956. In 1972,
he became an honorary research associate in the History of Science Department of Harvard
- J. M. Thomas
- Joseph Miller Thomas (1898–1979). Studied mathematics in Philadelphia at
the University of Pennsylvania. Received his doctorate in 1923. From 1927 assistant professor at the
University of Pennsylvania, from 1930 assistant and in 1935 full professor of mathematics at the Duke
University in Durham, North Carolina. His fields were differential geometry and partial differential
equations. He was the principle founder of Duke Mathematical Journal.
- T. Y. Thomas
- Tracy Yerkes Thomas (1899–1983). Born in Alton, Illinois, U.S.A.:
Studied mathematics at Princeton University and received his doctorate in 1923. Professor at
Princeton, then from 1938–1944 at the University of California in Los Angeles, and since 1944
professor and chairman of the mathematics department at Indiana University in Bloomington,
- Manuel Sandoval
Vallarta (1899–1977). Born in Mexico City. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
where he received his degree in science and specialised in theoretical physics (1924). With a
scholarship from the Guggenheim Foundation (1927–1928), he studied physics in Berlin and Leipzig.
From 1923 to 1946, he worked as an assistant, associate, and regular professor at the MIT, and
guest professor at the Lovaina University in Belgium (Cooperation with Lemaître). From
1943, he divided his time between MIT and the School of Sciences and the Institute of Physics
of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His main contributions were in
mathematic methods, quantum mechanics, general relativity and, from 1932, cosmic rays.
- Oswald Veblen (1880–1960). Born in
Decorah, Iowa, U.S.A. Entered the University of Iowa in 1894, receiving his B.A. in 1898. He
obtained his doctorate from the University of Chicago on “a system of axioms in geometry” in
1903. He taught mathematics at Princeton (1905–1932), at Oxford in 1928–1929, and became a
professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1932. Veblen made important
contribution to projective and differential geometry, and to topology. He gave a new treatment
- Roland Weitzenböck (1885–1955). Studied mathematics at the
University of Vienna where he obtained his doctoral degree in 1910. Became a professional officer during the
First World War. He obtained professorships in Graz and Vienna and, in 1921, at the University of
Amsterdam. He specialised in the theory of invariants (cf. ).
- Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl (1885–1955). Born in Elmshorn, Germany. Studied at
the Universities of Munich and Göttingen where he received his doctorate in 1908 (Hilbert
was his supervisor). From 1913 he held the Chair of Mathematics at the Federal Institute of
Technology in Zürich, and from 1930 to 1933 a corresponding Chair at the University of Göttingen.
Then until retirement he worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Weyl made
important contributions in mathematics (integral equations, Riemannian surfaces, continuous
groups, analytic number theory) and theoretical physics (differential geometry, unified field
theory, gauge theory). For his papers, cf. also the Collected Works 
- Norbert Wiener (1894–1964). Born in Columbia, Missouri, U.S.A. Studied at Tufts
College and Harvard University and received his doctorate with a dissertation on mathematical logic. He
continued his studies in Cambridge, England and in Göttingen. From 1918 instructor at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology where he first studied Brownian motion. Wiener had a wide range of interests, from
harmonic analysis to communications theory and cybernetics.
- Wilhelm Wirtinger (1865–1945). Born in Ybbs, Austria. Studied mathematics
at the University of Vienna. Received his doctorate in 1887, and continued his studies at the
Universities of Berlin and of Göttingen. From 1895 a full professor at the University of Vienna, but
accepted professorship at University of Innsbruck, returning to Vienna only in 1905. Wrote an
important paper on the general theta function and had an exceptional range in mathematics
(function theory, algebra, number theory, plane geometry, theory of invariants).
- Gawrilow Raschko Zaycoff (1901–1982).
Born in Burgas, Bulgaria. Studied at the Universities of Sofia, Göttingen, and Berlin from 1922 to 1928.
From 1928 assistant in the Physics Institute of the University of Sofia; 1931–1933 teacher at a Gymnasium
in Sofia. From 1935 on mathematical statistician at the Institute for Economic Research of Sofia University.
From 1961–1972 Professor at the Physics Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Science