Person: Bochner, Salomon
Salomon Bochner was a pure mathematician who was born in what is now Poland and moved to America to escape the Nazis. He worked on integral transforms and distribution theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- At school Salomon enjoyed arts subjects, yet excelled at mathematics, but when he was in the middle of his secondary education war broke out.
- After graduating from the Gymnasium, Bochner entered the University of Berlin in 1918.
- Since Bergman had been undertaking research on orthogonal systems of analytic functions during the time that Bochner had put his mathematics aside, Bochner decided that he needed to move into a new area.
- It was in 1923 that Harald Bohr published his ideas on almost periodic functions and Bochner read these.
- In 1924, after the award of an International Education Board fellowship, Bochner travelled to Copenhagen to work with Harald Bohr on almost periodic functions.
- Bochner lectured at the University of Munich from 1924 to 1933, submitting an outstanding habilitation dissertation on almost periodic functions in 1927.
- Among much else the book contains Bochner's most famous theorem, characterising the Fourier-Stieltjes transforms of positive measures as positive-definite functions ...
- However the period during which Bochner was producing this outstanding work was also one of great personal difficulty.
- The Mathematics Department at the University of Munich, realising what an outstanding mathematician Bochner was, wished to appoint him as an assistant professor but both the University Senate and the local government raised objections.
- since we could thus have a new means in our hands to make even clearer to the Ministry that Bochner is quite a character and that we make fools of ourselves in front of the scientific world if we put him off life here.
- The attempt to obtain an invitation for Bochner to Harvard rather backfired, however, since the decision eventually fell to G D Birkhoff, who was visiting Europe.
- Bochner's conversation gives me the impression of genuine devotion to his science.
- It is easy to understand that Carathéodory's recommendations are slightly tinged by his personal relations to Bochner, and also perhaps by a feeling (not rare here) that any second rate European youngster is good enough for us.
- Certainly at this time Birkhoff systematically kept Jews out of his department, and this must be the explanation for the quite ridiculous assessment of Bochner as a "second rate European youngster".
- We have mentioned above what is considered to be Bochner's most important work in Munich, but in fact he worked on a surprising variety of topics while he was there.
- He published a generalisation of the Lebesgue integral in 1932, which is now known as the Bochner integral.
- As an orthodox Jew, Bochner's position was now impossible and he accepted a position at Princeton in 1933.
- Appointed as an associate in Princeton in 1933, Bochner was promoted to assistant professor in the following year.
- Bochner persuaded them to leave Germany and go to England.
- Bochner found that the Riemann Localisation Theorem was not valid for Fourier series of several variables (1935 - 1936), which led him indirectly to consider functions of several complex variables (1937).
- He made basic contributions to this theory that included the Bochner-Martinelli Formula (1943), and extensions of Cauchy's integral formula (1944).
- Again showing wide interests, Bochner worked on the theory of probability.
- Although he was seventy years old when he retired from Princeton, Bochner was appointed as Edgar Odell Lovett Professor of Mathematics at Rice University and went on to hold this chair until his death in 1982.
- Bochner received many honours for his outstanding contributions.
Born 20 August 1899, Podgorze, near Kraków, Austria-Hungary (now Poland). Died 2 May 1982, Houston, Texas, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Bourbaki, Origin Poland
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive