Person: Knaster, Bronisław
Bronisław Knaster was a Polish mathematician who was known for his work in point-set topology.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- School education proved difficult for young Knaster who entered the first class of the Fourth Junior High School in 1902.
- After the closure of this school in May 1908 and the arrest of many of its students, Knaster moved to the Second Boys Junior High School, at which he completed his school education in 1911 with a silver medal.
- Knaster took a job in the Judicial Department of the Commissariat of the Fourth Civil Guard District of the City of Warsaw.
- Knaster enrolled and began studying logic under Jan Lukasiewicz who had been invited to the new University of Warsaw when it reopened.
- The first students to enter into this high powered mathematical environment were Knaster, Kazimierz Kuratowski and Stanisław Saks.
- Knaster's studies were interrupted, however, by the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet war of 1920.
- A Soviet counter offensive saw their armies advance towards Warsaw in July 1920 and Knaster volunteered to service in the Polish army.
- Back at the University of Warsaw, Knaster continued to undertake research advised by Stefan Mazurkiewicz and soon published his first papers.
- Knaster was interested in continua, defined technically as compact connected metric sets.
- Both these examples inspired Knaster and Kuratowski to ask the question: Does there exist an indecomposable continuum whose every subcontinuum is also indecomposable?
- Using very hard, complicated, and purely geometric methods, Knaster succeeded in constructing such an example.
- Knaster received his doctorate in 1923, becoming one of the first doctors of the new Polish University of Warsaw.
- With such outstanding results Knaster's future career looked set for the highest level.
- Knaster offered to have Zermelo stay at his apartment while in Warsaw and Zermelo accepted.
- Knaster organised everything concerning the Warsaw visit.
- In his 1930 report of his visit, Zermelo says he greatly appreciated the hospitality and discussions with Knaster.
- Knaster clearly greatly enjoyed Zermelo's visit and the two corresponded between August 1929 and October 1932.
- With his health improving, Knaster had returned to Warsaw in early 1929 and began to run his advanced seminar in topology, taught courses, took on editorial duties and other organizational activities.
- Knaster and his wife, and many of his fellow Poles, fled to the east to Lwów (now Lviv in Ukraine).
- Knaster, however, was allowed to teach there and became a professor in the Chair of Geometry, headed by Stanislaw Mazur.
- Knaster was given the job of feeding lice at Rudolf Weigel's Institute in Lwów.
- Knaster was now head hunted by all four of these new universities and offered professorships.
- A mathematician of world renown, an energetic organiser of scientific life, an experienced mathematical editor - Knaster was a man of greatest importance for the new university.
- One of Knaster's passions was editorial work.
- We have said little of Knaster's outstanding mathematical contributions after the work for his thesis.
Born 22 May 1893, Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland). Died 3 November 1980, Wrocław, Poland.
View full biography at MacTutor
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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