Person: Kutta, Martin Wilhelm
Wilhelm Kutta was a German engineer who is best known for his work on the numerical solution of differential equations (the Runge-Kutta method).
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After graduating from the Gymnasium, Kutta studied at the University of Breslau from 1885 to 1890.
- Kutta was appointed to a post at the Technische Hochschule at Munich as an assistant in mathematics and physics from 1894.
- It contains the now famous Runge-Kutta method for solving ordinary differential equations.
- Sebastian Finsterwalder also taught at the Institute in Munich where Kutta worked and he was interested in aviation.
- He brought photographs of early aircraft to the Institute and Kutta became fascinated by the mathematics behind aviation, namely aerodynamics.
- At Stuttgart Kutta concentrated his teaching on engineers who benefited greatly from his inspiring presentation.
- The former contains the Runge-Kutta method for solving ordinary differential equations while the latter contains the Zhukovsky-Kutta (or Joukowski-Kutta) theorem giving the lift on an aerofoil.
- Zhukovsky made the discoveries independently of Kutta, and published his version four years after Kutta.
- However, Kutta went on to make further important contributions to aerodynamics.
- Two further topics which Kutta worked on were research on glaciers and also research in the history of mathematics.
- Kutta made measurements of glaciers working from photographs taken in the East Alps and also worked with others in constructing maps of the area covered by glaciers.
- On the other topic, namely the history of mathematics, our first comment is that this was a very natural interest for Kutta to have.
- Kutta's paper was published in 1901.
- Kutta was a remarkable person quite apart from his outstanding contributions to mathematics.
- However, Pfeiffer also writes that despite Kutta's wide ranging interests, he was a lonely man.
Born 3 November 1867, Pitschen, Upper Silesia (now Byczyna, Poland). Died 25 December 1944, Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Analysis, Origin Poland
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive