Person: Salem, Raphaël
Raphaël Salem was a Greek mathematician who is best known for his methods of applying probability to Fourier series.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Salem attended the Lycée Condorcet for two years and then entered the Law Faculty of the University of Paris.
- Of course there were few better places in the world to study mathematics than Paris, and Salem was soon taking mathematics courses with Hadamard.
- Now, having made the change away from law to science and engineering one might have expected Salem to seek a profession using these qualifications, but in fact he went into banking.
- Denjoy was certainly a factor in this decision, for he well realised Salem's potential as a mathematician and tried to persuade him to take a doctorate in mathematics.
- Salem collaborated with this brilliant young Polish mathematician and of the mathematics papers he wrote while working for the bank, the one he wrote with Marcinkiewicz was his only joint work.
- Salem was called up for military work and attached to the Deuxième Bureau of the General Staff of the French Army.
- As part of his military duties, Salem was sent to England to assist the Head of the Franco-British Coordination Committee but he was demobilised in June 1940.
- Salem left England in the autumn of 1940 and emigrated to the United States where he settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- It was very fortunate for Salem that he had obtained his doctorate in mathematics in the previous year from the University of Paris.
- We should also note that Salem introduced the idea of a random measure into harmonic analysis.
- Returning to details of Salem's life we should emphasise how difficult the war years were for him.
- Salem was rapidly promoted at MIT where he became an assistant professor in 1945, and an associate professor in 1946.
- However, happy as he was in the United States, once the war had ended and his country was again free, Salem longed to return to France.
Born 7 November 1898, Saloniki, Ottoman Empire (now Thessaloniki, Greece). Died 20 June 1963, Paris, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
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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