Person: Cole, Frank Nelson
Frank Cole was an American mathematician whose main research contributions are to number theory, in particular to prime numbers, and to group theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Otis Cole was a farmer, a dealer in lumber having an involvement in manufacturing, who also had an interest in mathematics.
- After Frank graduated from High School in Marlboro, Massachusetts, he was privately tutored before he entered Harvard University in 1878.
- Cole also spent some time at Göttingen during these years spent in Germany and met there his future wife.
- Cole returned to Harvard and wrote a thesis A Contribution to the Theory of the General Equation of the Sixth Degree which, as the title indicates, studied equations of degree 6.
- Cole presented this thesis to Harvard University, not to Göttingen University, for his Ph.D. which was awarded in 1886.
- While he completed writing his doctoral thesis, Cole had already begun to lecture at Harvard and he continued to lecture there until 1887.
- In 1895 Cole was appointed professor at Columbia University, a post which he held until his death.
- Another important contribution to the theory of groups made by Cole was his work in publishing his English translation of Netto's book on group theory.
- Netto revised the German text of his book so that the English translation by Cole could incorporate some improvements.
- As a lecturer Cole was described as "truly inspiring" by Osgood, who was not in general one to give praise easily.
- He established the Frank Nelson Cole Prizes in algebra and number theory and today these are highly prestigious awards.
- The way this came about was that when Cole ended his spell of twenty-five years of secretarial and editorial duties for the American Mathematical Society his fellow members of the Society were so appreciative of his contributions that they collected money to give him to show their recognition.
- The reason's for Cole's unusual behaviour, which generated much comment and speculation, were only partially explained after his death.
Born 20 September 1861, Ashland, Massachusetts, USA. Died 26 May 1926, New York, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Group Theory, Origin Usa, Number Theory, Special Numbers And Numerals
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive