Person: Pick, Georg Alexander
Georg Pick was an Austrian mathematician best known for his formula on the area of a polygon in a lattice of points.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Pick entered the University of Vienna in 1875.
- He became Pick's supervisor and, on 16 April 1880, Pick was awarded his doctorate for his dissertation Über eine Klasse abelscher Integrale Ⓣ(On a class of abelian integrals).
- After the award of his doctorate, Pick was appointed as an assistant to Ernest Mach at the Karl-Ferdinand University in Prague.
- He, like Pick, had studied at the University of Vienna and, by the time Pick became his assistant, he was regarded as one of the leading scientists in Europe.
- Pick now aimed at becoming a lecturer in Prague and in order to obtain the right to lecture he had to write an habilitation thesis.
- Except for the academic year 1884-85 which Pick spent studying under Klein at the University of Leipzig, he remained in Prague for the rest of his career.
- Terms such as 'Pick matrices', 'Pick-Nevanlinna interpolation', and the 'Schwarz-Pick lemma' are sometimes used today.
- He is best remembered, however, for Pick's theorem which appeared in his eight page paper of 1899 Geometrisches zur Zahlenlehre Ⓣ(Geometric number theory) published in Prague in Sitzungber.
- Pick's theorem is on reticular geometry.
- These Pick calls the 'main reticular lines' and their points of intersection are called 'reticular points'.
- A polygon whose edges are reticular lines Pick calls a reticular polygon.
- The result did not receive much attention after Pick published it, but in 1969 Steinhaus included it in his famous book Mathematical Snapshots.
- From that time on Pick's theorem has attracted much attention and admiration for its simplicity and elegance.
- At the German University of Prague Pick became dean of the philosophy faculty in 1900-01.
- He supervised about 20 students for their doctorates, the most famous being Charles Loewner who worked under Pick's supervision and was awarded his doctorate for his thesis on geometric function theory in 1917.
- There is another aspect of Pick's life which merits attention.
- Pick was the driving force behind the appointment and Einstein was appointed to a chair of mathematical physics at the German University of Prague in 1911.
- Pick, who played in a quartet, introduced Einstein into the scientific and musical societies of Prague.
- Pick's quartet consisted of four professors from the university including Camillo Körner, the professor of mechanical engineering.
- After Pick retired in 1927 he was named professor emeritus and returned to Vienna, the town of his birth.
- Pick had been elected as a member of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts, but after the Nazis took over Prague, Pick was excluded from the Academy.
- Pick was sent to Theresienstadt on 13 July 1942 and he died there two weeks later aged 82.
Born 10 August 1859, Vienna , Austria. Died 26 July 1942, Theresienstadt, Bohemia, now Czech Republic.
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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