Person: Königsberger, Leo
Leo Königsberger was a German mathematician who worked on elliptic functions and differential equations. He is known for his biographies of Helmholtz and Jacobi.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After attending primary school where he learnt to read, write, and do arithmetic, Leo entered the Friedrich-Wilhelms Gymnasium in Poznań.
- Fighting between the German Gymnasium students, to which Königsberger belonged, and those of the Polish Mary's Gymnasium were almost daily events.
- Lazarus Fuchs arrived in Poznań at Easter 1853 and lived for a year in the Königsberger home.
- Leo learnt a great deal from Fuchs, who acted as a tutor to him during this year, so that by the time Fuchs left at Easter 1854 to begin his studies at the University of Berlin, Königsberger's education was transformed.
- Fuchs had also given Königsberger a love for mathematics, so from this time on he knew that it was the subject he wanted to study.
- When Königsberger arrived at the University of Berlin, his friend and former tutor Fuchs was still an undergraduate there.
- In his first semester at the university, which was in the year 1857, Königsberger was taught by Karl Weierstrass who had been appointed to the University of Berlin in the previous year.
- Königsberger had been so well prepared for university study that he attended Weierstrass's lectures on the theory of elliptic functions (which was Weierstrass's main research topic) and by the end of the course he was one of only four or five students who remained including Fuchs.
- This was the first course that Weierstrass gave on elliptic functions and Königsberger's publication was of considerable historical importance.
- Königsberger also attended lectures by Eduard Kummer, who had been appointed to Berlin two years before Königsberger began his undergraduate studies.
- Königsberger was given a research topic by Weierstrass.
- Johann Georg Königsberger (1874-1946) went on to become professor of physics at the University of Freiburg, being mainly interested in electrical, optical and thermal properties of minerals.
- In April 1875 Leo Königsberger left Heidelberg and moved to the Technische Hochschule in Dresden.
- After two years in Dresden, Königsberger moved again, this time to the University of Vienna at Easter 1877.
- So from an academic career spanning 50 years, despite the many moves, Königsberger spent 36 of these years at the University of Heidelberg.
- This was a particularly happy time for Königsberger who was joined by Hermite, Fuchs, Helmholtz, Bunsen, Roscoe, Brioschi and other friends from the world of mathematics and science.
- In the summer of 1889 there was a scientific meeting in Heidelberg at which Königsberger met Heinrich Hertz for the first time.
- Königsberger entertained Hertz, Helmholtz, Kundt, Paalzow, Wiedemann and others to lunch in his home.
- At Heidelberg, Königsberger was supported by some other excellent teachers.
- In particular the mathematical historian Moritz Cantor worked there for most of his career, beginning in 1853, while Georg Landsberg, whom Königsberger described as an "inspiring teacher," taught at Heidelberg between 1893 and 1904.
- Much of Königsberger's work on differential equations was influenced by the function theory developed by his friend Fuchs.
- Königsberger is also famed for his two volume biography of Helmholtz (1902) and his biographical Festschrift for Jacobi (1904).
Born 15 October 1837, Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). Died 15 December 1921, Heidelberg, Germany.
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