Person: Bliss (2), Gilbert Ames
Gilbert Bliss was an American mathematician, best known for his work on the calculus of variations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- George Bliss was the president of the Chicago Edison Company which, by 1907, supplied all of Chicago's electricity.
- Bliss was one of the first American mathematicians to complete his studies in the United States before travelling to Europe.
- His interest in the calculus of variations came through two sources, firstly from lecture notes of Weierstrass's 1879 course, of which he had a copy, and secondly from the inspiring lectures by Bolza which Bliss attended.
- Bliss received his doctorate in 1900 for a dissertation The Geodesic Lines on the Anchor Ring which was supervised by Bolza.
- His fellow American Max Mason was a doctoral student at Göttingen during the year Bliss spent there.
- Bliss published two papers in 1902: one in the Annals of Mathematics was based on his doctoral dissertation and had the same title The geodesic lines on the anchor ring while the second in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society was titled The second variation of a definite integral when one end-point is variable.
- Returning to the United States, Bliss was appointed to the University of Chicago in 1903, then in 1904 he was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri.
- At Princeton Bliss joined a strong group of young mathematicians including Eisenhart, Veblen, and Robert Moore.
- Bliss was appointed as an associate professor at the University of Chicago on the death of Maschke and he remained at Chicago until he retired.
- Bliss's main work was on the calculus of variations and he produced a major book, Lectures on the Calculus of Variations , on the topic in 1946.
- As a consequence of Bliss's results a substantial simplification of the transformation theories of Clebsch and Weierstrass was achieved.
- The form in which the results are presented here is that preferred by Bliss himself.
- The theory here presented marks the culmination of the modern phase of development of the calculus of variations, begun by Weierstrass and continued by Hilbert, Bolza and Bliss.
- Bliss also studied singularities of real transformations in the plane.
- During the last 50 years of his life Bliss played a major role in mathematics in the United States and he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (United States) in 1916.
Born 9 May 1876, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Died 8 May 1951, Harvey, Illinois, USA.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive