**Lipman Bers** was a Latvian-born American mathematician who worked on pseudoanalytic functions, Riemann surfaces and Kleinian groups.

- There were a number of reasons why Bers chose to go to Prague at this time.
- Indeed Bers did obtain his doctorate which was awarded in 1938 from the Charles University of Prague where he wrote a thesis on potential theory under Karl Loewner's supervision.
- Equally dangerous was the fact that Bers had no homeland since he was a wanted man in Latvia, and was a left wing academic.
- Bers applied for a visa to the USA and, while waiting to obtain permission, he wrote two papers on Green's functions and integral representations.
- Between 1945 and 1949 Bers worked at Syracuse University, first at Assistant Professor, later as Associate Professor.
- Gelbart wanted to build up the department at Syracuse and attracting both Bers and Loewner was an excellent move.
- Here Bers began work on the problem of removability of singularities of non-linear elliptic equations.
- Bers then became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton where he began work on Teichmüller theory, pseudoanalytic functions, quasiconformal mappings and Kleinian groups.
- When Bers met Lavrent'ev three years later he asked him the same questions and, indeed, Ahlfors had been correct in guessing why Lavrent'ev had credited him.
- In 1951 Bers went to the Courant Institute in New York, where he was a full professor, and remained there for 13 years.
- In 1958 Bers address the International Congress of Mathematicians in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he lectured on Spaces of Riemann surfaces and announced a new proof of the measurable Riemann mapping theorem.
- In his talk Bers summarised recent work on the classical problem of moduli for compact Riemann surfaces and sketched a proof of the Teichmüller theorem characterizing extremal quasiconformal mappings.
- Bers was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1959-60, and a Fulbright Fellow in the same academic year.
- From 1959 until he left the Courant Institute in 1964, Bers was Chairman of the Graduate Department of Mathematics.
- In 1964 Bers went to Columbia University where he was to remain until he retired in 1984.
- During this period Bers was Visiting Miller Research Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1968.
- We have yet to say something about Bers' great passion for human rights.
- Bers received many honours for his contributions in addition to those we have mentioned above.

Born 23 May 1914, Riga, Russia (now Latvia). Died 29 October 1993, New Rochelle, New York, USA.

View full biography at MacTutor

Origin Latvia

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