Person: Gröbli, Walter
Walter Gröbli was a Swiss school teacher who helped organise the first Internatonal Congress of Mathematicians.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- His parents were Isaak and Elisabetha Gröbli, née Grob.
- Isaak Gröbli (1822-1917) was a jacquard weaver who invented the "Schifflistickmaschine", a shuttle embroidery machine, in 1863.
- Soon the machine worked 10 times faster than a hand embroidery machine and became widely used, but it brought Isaak Gröbli only modest wealth.
- Walter, however, was not interested in weaving, but in mathematics.
- Probably encouraged by Weber and Schwarz, Gröbli went to Berlin to hear Kirchhoff, Helmholtz, Kummer and Weierstrass in 1875.
- In 1876 Gröbli obtained his doctorate from the University of Göttingen for his thesis Spezielle Probleme über die Bewegung gradliniger, paralleler Wirbelflächen Ⓣ(Special problems on rectilinear movement, parallel vortex sheets).
- Gröbli also became Frobenius's assistant for the following six years.
- Despite his mathematical talent and encouragement from his former professors and his colleagues, Gröbli did not pursue a career as a research mathematician; he was content with being a schoolteacher.
- Even after he had stepped down from his post at the Polytechnic, Gröbli continued to take great interest in the latest mathematical research.
- Gröbli was a very active member of the Swiss Alpine Club: he led many mountaineering trips and served on the executive committee of the Club's local branch for many years.
- Walter Gröbli and two pupils, Ernst Hofmann and Adolf Odermatt, perished on the mountain; another pupil, Richard Liebmann, died of his injuries later on.
- It is hard to say whether Gröbli would have written any mathematical papers had he not died so early.
- People then forgot about it until 1949, when J L Synge published a paper on the converse of the problem that Gröbli investigated.
- At the time of the first International Congress of Mathematicians Gröbli had already given up his teaching post at the Polytechnic.
Born 23 September 1852, Oberuzwil, St Gallen canton, Switzerland. Died 26 June 1903, Piz Blas, Grisons canton, Switzerland.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive