A Mathematician’s Journeys: Otto Neugebauer and Modern by Alexander Jones, Christine Proust, John M. Steele

By Alexander Jones, Christine Proust, John M. Steele

This publication explores features of Otto Neugebauer's occupation, his impression at the historical past and perform of arithmetic, and the ways that his legacy has been preserved or remodeled in contemporary a long time, expecting the instructions within which the research of the historical past of technological know-how will head within the twenty-first century. Neugebauer, greater than the other student of contemporary instances, formed the way in which we understand premodern technology. via his scholarship and impression on scholars and collaborators, he inculcated either an method of ancient examine on historical and medieval arithmetic and astronomy via detailed mathematical and philological examine of texts, and a imaginative and prescient of those sciences as platforms of information and procedure that unfold outward from the traditional close to jap civilizations, crossing cultural limitations and circulating over a major geographical expanse of the outdated international from the Atlantic to India.

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After describing the famous Lesezimmer in the old Auditorienhaus, he went on to speak of Courant’s “first revolutionary step” as an empire builder in Göttingen: 19 Young Friedrich Hund described this atmosphere many years later, see (Mehra and Rechenberg 1982, 345). ” Indeed the total library budget at that time was some 500 Marks (about $120) per year. (Neugebauer 1963, 2) Money was indeed a major concern at Courant’s institute, though there were plenty of others as well. Neugebauer went on to describe how Courant managed to cope with the horrendous inflation that ruined so many lives during these terrible times.

Promotionsverfahren Otto Neugebauer, Universitätsarchiv Göttingen, Math. Nat. Prom. Spec. I. E. Rowe Neugebauer knew these things very well: Hilbert recorded that his answers displayed not just very good knowledge but a solid understanding (“bestes Verständnis”). ” Apparently wanting to put his candidate’s aptitude for higher mathematics on display, Neugebauer’s thesis advisor asked him questions that would hardly have been expected in a standard oral in this subject. Courant started with algebraic number fields, distribution of primes, and related properties of the Riemann zeta-function.

He also leaned heavily on the support of his own school of Mitarbeiter. These young men remained anonymous in 1924, but in the preface to the revised second edition from 1930 he gave credit to Kurt Friedrichs, Franz Rellich, Rudolf Lüneburg, among others. 26 If mathematical physics was Courant’s domain, one should not overlook Max Born’s role as associate editor of the Grundlehren series. Born was not only a close friend of Einstein’s, he was also at the vanguard of the relativity movement from the time he became Minkowski’s assistant in Göttingen.

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