Person: Hecke, Erich
Erich Hecke was a Polish-born German mathematician whose best work was in analytic number theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Erich attended primary school at Buk before going to Posen for his secondary school studies.
- Following the tradition in Germany at that time Hecke did not complete his studies at a single university, but moved to several different universities during the course of his studies.
- Hecke was awarded his doctorate at Göttingen in 1910 for a dissertation Zur Theorie der Modulfunktionen von zwei Variablen und ihrer Anwendung auf die Zahlentheorie Ⓣ(On the theory of modular functions of two variables and its application to the theory of numbers) which had been supervised by Hilbert.
- Hecke remained at Göttingen where he was appointed as an assistant to Hilbert and Klein.
- In 1915 Hecke was appointed to a chair at the University of Basel but, three years later, he returned to a chair of mathematics at Göttingen.
- One might have imagined that Hecke would have been happy to stay at Göttingen but, having been there for only one year, he accepted the chair of mathematics at Hamburg in 1919.
- This left Berlin trying to fill Carathéodory's chair and Göttingen trying to fill Hecke's chair both in 1919.
- Courant then accepted the offer of Hecke's chair at Göttingen while Berlin, having been refused by their third choice Herglotz, tried to entice Hecke to leave Hamburg and accept the chair at Berlin.
- Hecke, however, was happy with his new post at Hamburg and turned down the offer from Berlin.
- Hecke's best work was in analytic number theory where he continued work of Riemann, Dedekind and Heinrich Weber.
- For his doctoral work Hilbert suggested to Hecke that he extend Kronecker's ideas to curves of genus 2.
- Although Hecke achieved important results following this line of investigation, he considered that his attempts had been unsuccessful.
- However it was highly successful in the sense that the results which Hecke obtained were to lead him to further major discoveries.
- Probably Hecke's most important work was in 1936 with his discovery of the properties of the algebra of Hecke operators and of the Euler products associated with them.
- Hecke himself died of cancer before reaching his 60th birthday.
Born 20 September 1887, Buk, Posen, Germany (now Poznań, Poland). Died 13 February 1947, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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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