Person: Blichfeldt, Hans Frederick
Hans Blichfeldt was a Danishborn American mathematician who worked on group theory and the geometry of numbers.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
 Hans showed a talent for all subjects, but he shone in mathematics.
 At an early age Hans took the university entrance examinations.
 This was not the immediate solution to all of Hans's problems for once in the United States he spent four years as a labourer working on farms and in sawmills.
 As a surveyor Blichfeldt had the opportunity to show his mathematical skills.
 Although this is no real sign of mathematical ability, it is usually taken as such by nonmathematicians and in the case of Blichfeldt his fellow surveyors were absolutely correct in persuading him to study mathematics at university.
 The first intake of students to the university was in 1891 and three years later in 1894 Blichfeldt began his mathematical studies there.
 To study in Europe, however, required money and Blichfeldt was not well off.
 He would certainly not have been able to find enough money without the generous help of one of his Stanford professors, Rufus L Green, who gave Blichfeldt a loan of the necessary funds.
 Within a year Blichfeldt submitted his dissertation On a certain class of groups of transformation in threedimensional space which gained him a doctorate with distinction.
 Returning to the United States, Blichfeldt worked as an instructor at Stanford beginning in 1898.
 It is a remarkable story of achievement how Blichfeldt started his working life as a labourer and ended his career as head of department of a major university.
 Blichfeldt wrote papers on the geometry of numbers and he has an important book Finite Collineation Groups.
 He also comments on what sort of man Blichfeldt was.
Born 9 January 1873, Illar, Sønderborg, Denmark. Died 16 November 1945, Palo Alto, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Group Theory, Origin Denmark
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References
Adapted from other CC BYSA 4.0 Sources:
 O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive