Person: Mellin, Robert Hjalmar
Hjalmar Mellin was a Finnish mathematician and functional theorist.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Mellin grew up and received his schooling in Hämeenlinna (about 100 km north of Helsinki) where he attended Hämeenlinna Lyceum and graduated in 1875.
- Mittag-Leffler introduced Mellin to function theory in the style of Weierstrass and was the greatest influence on his mathematical education.
- On 30 December 1880, Mellin graduated with his first degree, a Bachelor of Arts, and continued to undertake research for his doctorate at the University of Helsinki advised by Mittag-Leffler.
- In the autumn of 1881 Mellin defended his doctoral dissertation De algebraiska funktionerna af en oberoende variabel Ⓣ(The algebraic functions of an independent variable,), on algebraic functions of a single complex variable, and was awarded a Licentiate of Philosophy in 1882.
- Mellin was appointed as a docent at the University of Stockholm from 1884-91 but never actually gave any lectures.
- In 1901 Mellin withdrew his application for the vacant chair of mathematics at the University of Helsinki in favour of his illustrious (and younger) fellow countryman Ernst Lindelöf.
- During the period 1904-07 Mellin was Director of the Polytechnic Institute and in 1908 he became the first professor of mathematics at the new university.
- With regard to the ever-burning language question, Mellin was a fervent fennoman with an apparently fiery temperament.
- Mellin's passionate defence of the Finnish language and culture did not go down well with everyone, of course, and he made enemies among his Swedish-speaking colleagues.
- Mellin was one of the founders of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters in 1908 as a purely Finnish alternative to the predominantly Swedish-speaking Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters which had been founded in 1838.
- The use of the inverse form of the transform, expressed as an integral parallel to the imaginary axis of the variable of integration, was developed by Mellin as a powerful tool for the generation of asymptotic expansions.
- During the last decade of his life Mellin was, rather curiously for an analyst, preoccupied by Einstein's theory of relativity and he wrote no less than ten papers on this topic.
- Mellin insisted that simultaneity is necessary, absolute and not relative, as it is assumed the light signals are assigned thereto in Einstein's theory.
- Mellin wanted, as he said, to mark his position so strongly, so that it should be noticed.
- In 1895 Mellin received a prize from the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters.
Born 19 June 1854, Liminka, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. Died 5 April 1933, Helsinki, Finland.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Finland
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive