Person: Blichfeldt, Hans Frederick
Hans Blichfeldt was a Danish-born 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 non-mathematicians 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 three-dimensional 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
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive