Driven to Innovate: A Century of Jewish Mathematicians and Physicists
Ioan James celebrates the extraordinary contribution made by Jewish people in mathematics and physics, from the mathematician Norbert Wiener, the founder of cybernetics, to distinguished nuclear physicist and Nobel Prize-winner Niels Bohr. He tells the life-stories of thirty-five men and women, born in the nineteenth century, who were at the forefront of research in the closely related fields of mathematics and physics, often in the face of various kinds of anti-Semitism.
Some were caught up in the trauma of the Nazi accession to power in Germany and the Second World War. Wolfgang Pauli, described as ‘greater than Einstein’ by his contemporary Max Born, became a German national following the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938 but was able to escape to the United States for the duration of the war. Already hampered by anti-Semitism in his native Poland, logician and mathematician Alfred Tarski found himself stranded in the USA at the outbreak of war and did not see his wife and sons until the war’s end. The Italian mathematician Vito Volterra publicly opposed Mussolini’s Fascist regime at considerable personal risk. Others such as George P lya and Emmy Noether found that their left-wing political beliefs hindered their careers.
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Academy algebra America anti-Semitism appointed attended became began Berlin Besicovitch Bohr Born Cambridge Cantor career Carl Jacobi century colleagues College Courant culture daughter Dehn developed died Edmund Landau Ehrenfest Einstein Eisenstein emigrated Emmy Noether Europe Extra-Ordinarius father Felix Hausdorff Franck friends Georgia Augusta Gottingen gymnasium Hadamard Hausdorff Hertha Hertz Hilbert Hopf ideas Institute intellectual interest Ioffe Italian James Franck Jewish Jewish mathematicians Jews Klein Kronecker laboratory Landau later lectures Lefschetz Leopold Kronecker Levi-Civita Lise Meitner living married mathematicians mathematics Max Born Max Dehn Michelson Minkowski moved Nazi never Niels Niels Bohr Nobel Norbert Wiener Ordinarius Paris Paul Ehrenfest Pauli physicists Planck political Polya position Privatdozent prize problems professor profiles published returned Russian scientific scientists Simon Society Soviet spent success Sylvester Tamm Tarski teacher teaching theoretical physics theory took Volterra Wiener wife Wolfgang Pauli wrote young Zariski Zurich