Person: Loewy, Alfred
Alfred Loewy was a German mathematician who worked on linear groups, the algebraic theory of differential equations and actuarial mathematics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Alfred was born two years after the unification of Germany, and with that came full emancipation of Jews.
- Discrimination against Jewish families, especially those with an orthodox lifestyle, became widespread and Loewy would encountered increasing discrimination throughout his life.
- Loewy studied at the universities of Breslau, Munich, Berlin and Göttingen between 1891 and 1895.
- Then, from 1897, Loewy taught at the University of Freiburg having submitted his habilitation thesis.
- Loewy became an honorary ordinary professor at Freiburg in 1916 before his appointment as ordinary professor in 1919.
- Other algebraists who spent some time in Freiburg working under Loewy are E Witt, Bernhard Neumann, R Brauer, R Baer, and A Scholz.
- Increasing discrimination was not the only source of difficulty in Loewy's life.
- Despite these severe health problems Loewy continued to carry out his teaching duties.
- Loewy was forced to retire in 1933 under the Civil Service Law.
- Loewy worked on linear groups, the algebraic theory of differential equations and actuarial mathematics.
- Among Loewy's most famous books are Lehrbuch der Algebra Ⓣ(Textbook of algebra) (1915) and Mathematik des Geld- und Zahlungsverkehrs Ⓣ(Mathematics of money and payments) (1920).
- Let us now mention the connection between Loewy and Fraenkel.
- It was Loewy who persuaded Fraenkel to travel to Marburg to study under Hensel and it was Loewy who had helped Fraenkel publish his early work in Crelle's journal with a paper about the date of Easter.
- But the mathematical topics Fraenkel studied were also influenced by Loewy whose interest in the study of axiomatic systems encouraged a similar interest by Fraenkel.
- The relationship worked both ways round, however, and Loewy's Grundlagen der Arithmetik Ⓣ(Foundations of arithmetic), published in 1915, was prepared with Fraenkel's assistance.
- Loewy mentioned in this work that in the system of integers, the product of any two integers is zero, if and only if one of them is zero.
Born 20 June 1873, Rawitsch, Germany (now Rawicz, Poland). Died 25 January 1935, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
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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