Person: Amitsur, Shimshon Avraham
Shimshon Amitsur was an Israeli mathematician who worked in ring theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- We need to understand a little of the background to the creation of the state of Israel in order to put Amitsur's life into perspective.
- It was in the state under direct British rule that Amitsur (at that time known as Kaplan but for the sake of simplicity we'll refer to him throughout as Amitsur) was brought up.
- The principal of the school that Amitsur attended was himself a mathematician who had written a number of mathematics textbooks.
- He, as well as Amitsur's teachers, soon saw the boy's potential but Amitsur's parents were in no position to support him while undertaking university studies.
- The principal set up a fund to finance Amitsur's studies at the Hebrew University.
- The years that Amitsur had been studying at school had seen large increases in the Jewish population as many refugees settled in Palestine, particularly in Tel Aviv.
- Despite the misgivings, the British army formed a brigade of Jewish volunteers which Amitsur joined.
- Amitsur was involved in this action.
- Amitsur was awarded an M.Sc. in 1946 and by the time he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1950 the State of Israel was already two years old, having been declared on 14 May 1948.
- The reason was certainly to adopt a Hebrew name and a paper On a lemma of Kaplansky he had published in Hebrew in 1949 already gives the name of the author as Amitsur.
- However, the report on Amitsur's thesis which Levitzki wrote in 1950 is entitled "Report on the Thesis of Shimshon Amitsur" but in the text of the report Levitzki refers to the author as Kaplan.
- Amitsur published several papers immediately after the 1949 paper we mentioned above.
- the editors divide Amitsur's work into four main areas: general ring theory, structure theory of rings with polynomial identities, combinatorial theory of PI-algebras and theory of division algebras.
- starts with the famous Amitsur-Levitzki theorem.
- The group of papers devoted to the theory of division algebras contains some of Amitsur's most influential results.
- In particular, it contains one of the most famous results of Amitsur in this direction, the existence of a division algebra which is not a crossed product.
- The general question of how to describe as simply as possible all division algebras and whether there are special division algebras with a particularly nice description is at the core of the work of Amitsur on division algebras.
- After the death of Levitzki in 1956, Amitsur became the leading algebraist in Israel.
Born 26 August 1921, Jeruselem, Palestine (now Israel). Died 5 September 1994, Jeruselem, Israel.
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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