Person: Mazurkiewicz, Stefan
Stefan Mazurkiewicz was a Polish mathematician who worked in mathematical analysis, topology, and probability.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Stefan attended secondary school in Warsaw, graduating in 1907.
- Mazurkiewicz decided not to remain in Warsaw for his university education, taking what was a typical route for Poles at this time.
- The first thing to note is that when Mazurkiewicz graduated from secondary school in 1907, Poland did not formally exist.
- Russia controlled much of the rest of the country and in the years prior to Mazurkiewicz's birth there had been strong moves by Russia to make "Vistula Land", as it was called, be dominated by Russian culture.
- Indeed Mazurkiewicz first went to Kraków, in Galicia but, again following the pattern of students of the time to spend sessions at a number of different universities, he went next to Munich, then to the renowned mathematical research centre at Göttingen.
- Mazurkiewicz returned to Galicia for his doctorate, which was supervised by Sierpiński on space filling curves at the University of Lemberg (in what is now Lviv in Ukraine).
- At this point Mazurkiewicz became a professor at this reborn University of Warsaw and he would remain on the staff of the university for the rest of his life.
- Kuratowski attended seminars given by Mazurkiewicz in Warsaw before the end of the war.
- The meeting of that seminar, taken up to a large extent with sometimes quite vehement discussions between Janiszewski and Mazurkiewicz, were a real intellectual treat for the participants.
- The role that Mazurkiewicz played in the creation of the Polish School of Mathematics was an important one.
- Stefan Mazurkiewicz was the central figure among professors of mathematics, especially in the early years of the university's existence.
- Mazurkiewicz applied topological methods to the theory of functions, obtaining powerful results.
- Many of the ideas introduced by Mazurkiewicz were studied independently by Hahn.
- Other results by Mazurkiewicz gave information about the topological structure of curves.
- This unusually creative scholar's almost sportsmanlike attitude towards mathematics was in some sense manifested in the way he lectured and prepared his results for publication: Mazurkiewicz used no notes while lecturing, and his lectures were not always completely elaborated but they were greatly admired by his audience for their ingenuity and deep intelligence.
- Mazurkiewicz held many important positions in the University of Warsaw as it flourished between the two wars.
- After Janiszewski died in 1920, Mazurkiewicz and Sierpiński took over the editorship of the journal Fundamenta Mathematicae which Janiszewski had set up.
- Throughout his career Mazurkiewicz was interested in the theory of probability.
- It was during this period of occupation that Mazurkiewicz wrote a treatise on probability including his own results on the topic.
- Mazurkiewicz escaped with his life, but the manuscript of his treatise on probability was destroyed as the buildings burned.
- At this time Mazurkiewicz was greatly weakened as a result of the difficult life he had led in Warsaw and also through an illness from which he now suffered.
- Despite being gravely ill, Mazurkiewicz thought only of the recreation of Polish mathematics as the war drew to a close, being filled with the same enthusiasm which he had displayed at the end of World War I.
- Mazurkiewicz took part in these meetings despite his failing health.
Born 25 September 1888, Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland). Died 19 June 1945, Grodzisk, Mazowiecki (near Warsaw), Poland.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Poland, Topology
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive