Person: Zalts, Karlis
Karlis Zalts was a Latvian mathematician with wide-ranging interests in topics such as mechanical calculators, statistics and nomography as well as folklore, education, and philosophy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After Zalts graduated from the Gymnasium in Jelgava in 1904 he went to the Ukraine and studied engineering at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute.
- Zalts returned to Latvia in 1921 and was appointed to the University of Latvia in Riga.
- Zalts was someone of varied interests and during the 1920s, not only did he publish on mechanical calculators, statistics and nomography (graphic representation of data), but he also published on folklore, education, and philosophy.
- Political moves which would have a major impact on Zalts' career were soon happening, in particular the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact was signed in August 1939 and from that time on Latvia was doomed to lose its independence again.
- During this extremely difficult period the University of Latvia continued to operate and Zalts undertook research towards his thesis.
- Zalts continued research at the University of Latvia and in February 1944 he was awarded his doctorate for his thesis on the geometry of deformations.
- The army reached the Dresden plant where Zalts was working on 1 May 1945 and he was required by the Russians to work as an an interpreter for the Red Army until 1 September of that year.
- One might think that Zalts problems would end there, but they did not.
- The various Institutes of the Latvian Academy of Sciences were being set up at this time and Zalts was about to be appointed when Soviet checks of his suitability were run and his publications on folklore, education, and philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s were discovered.
Born 10 March 1885, Burtnieki, Latvia. Died 1953, Riga, Latvia.
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