**Rolf Nevanlinna** was a Finnish mathematician famous for his work on complex analysis.

- Frithiof also became a mathematician and he collaborated with Rolf on a number of publications which we mention below.
- In 1902, at the age of seven, Rolf began his schooling in Joensuu.
- Rolf first met Sibelius's music in 1907, when he heard his Third Symphony.
- Although later he met Hilbert, Einstein, Thomas Mann and other famous people, Rolf said that none had had such a strong effect on him as Sibelius.
- At the Helsinki High School Nevanlinna's interests were firstly classics, secondly mathematics.
- Finland had been under Russian domination throughout Nevanlinna's life but this domination had increased during the first years of the 20th century resulting in a strong independence movement within the country.
- Nevanlinna was keen to go to Germany and join the Jägar Battalion but his parents persuaded him that he should continue with his studies.
- University posts were not available in Finland in 1919 so Nevanlinna became a school teacher.
- Remarkably, despite this heavy workload, it was during these years that he produced what today is called 'Nevanlinna theory'.
- This was the situation before Nevanlinna introduced his characteristic which not only extended the theory to meromorphic functions but also obtained a much more precise formulation of the results even in the special case of entire functions by means of his first and second fundamental theorems and the deficiency relation.
- through R Nevanlinna's successive papers culminating in the monograph 'Le Théorème de Picard-Borel et la théorie des fonctions méromorphes' Ⓣ(The theorem of Picard-Borel and the theory of functions meromorphic)(1929).
- The main results of Nevanlinna theory appeared in the 100 page paper Zur Theorie der meromorphen Funktionen Ⓣ(On the theory of meromorphic functions) in 1925.
- To illustrate Nevanlinna's remarkable output, we note that this 100 page paper was one of eight papers he published in 1925, with thirteen papers having been published in the preceding three years.
- Nevanlinna remained on the staff at the University of Helsinki for the rest of his life except for extensive travels he made to many different countries.
- There he met Mittag-Leffler for the first time - he had been professor in Helsinki for five years, long before Nevanlinna was born.
- Two years later Nevanlinna was offered Weyl's chair after he had left Zürich to take up the chair at Göttingen, but Nevanlinna refused the chair.
- It was through the second half of the 1920s that Lars Ahlfors studied with Nevanlinna, obtaining his doctorate in 1930, and he had accompanied his thesis advisor on the trip to Zürich.
- Ahlfors's proof of the Denjoy Conjecture, which led to him being awarded a Fields Medal in 1936, followed suggestions made by Nevanlinna while in Zürich.
- The geometric ideas marked a new element in Nevanlinna's research and is evident in papers he published in the early 1930s.
- From his student days when he had wanted German help to free Finland of Russian domination, Nevanlinna was known to have German links.
- Lecture courses which Nevanlinna gave in Zürich and in Helsinki formed the basis for his book Uniformisierung Ⓣ(Uniformity) (1953).
- The treatise of Nevanlinna, which is based upon his lectures at Zürich and Helsinki, is the first of a new generation of books to appear on the subject.
- Throughout his life Nevanlinna took an active part role in musical events.
- Nevanlinna coauthored the book Einführung in die Funktionentheorie Ⓣ(Introduction to the Theory of Functions) (1965) with V Paatero.
- As well as his textbooks and monographs, Nevanlinna published two books and over fifty articles which were intended to introduce mathematical ideas to non-mathematicians.
- Nevanlinna received many honours for his contributions.
- Nevanlinna continued to publish papers right up to the time of his death in 1980 from cancer.
- Since 1982, an award, the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, is presented at the International Congress of Mathematicians.

Born 22 October 1895, Joensuu, Russian Empire (now Finland). Died 28 May 1980, Helsinki, Finland.

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Astronomy, Origin Finland

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive