Person: Corominas, Ernest
Ernest Corominas was a Catalan mathematician who worked in South America and ended up in France. He worked on generalised derivatives and ordered sets.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Ernest Corominas was brought up in Barcelona where he entered the University of Barcelona.
- Spain was plunged into a civil war in July 1936, close to the time that Corominas graduated.
- One of these was around Barcelona where Corominas was part of the Republican defenders when the Nationalists launched an all out assault late in December 1938.
- The campaign was fought in January and February 1939 with Corominas ordered to destroy bridges to ensure that the remnants of the Republican army could escape.
- By February 1939 Corominas, together with many of his fellow soldiers and civilian refugees, had escaped to France.
- Corominas was now one of around 500,000 Spanish refugees in France but they were not welcomed there, especially the Republican soldiers.
- Corominas sailed for Chile on the SS Winnipeg from Port Trompeloup Pauillac, north of Bordeaux, on 4 August 1939.
- With Corominas and fellow Republican soldiers on board, the SS Winnipeg sailed through the Panama Canal and at that time they learnt of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union made on 23 August.
- Corominas had not had a chance to take up employment due to the Spanish Civil War.
- He had been in Barcelona when Corominas was studying at the University and they had met at this time.
- Rey Pastor offered Corominas the position of Assistant in Mathematics at the University of Buenos Aires.
- This was quite a bold move since Corominas had not had the opportunity to study mathematics any further after graduating with his first degree.
- However, strongly encouraged by Rey Pastor, Corominas spent a year at the University of Buenos Aires making good use of the library there to read advanced mathematical texts.
- Corominas now began to undertake research in mathematics and publish his results.
- Continuing to work on generalised derivatives, Corominas published On Peano's generalized derivatives (Spanish) in 1946 which improves on results obtained by Arnaud Denjoy on Peano derivatives.
- While living in Mendoza, Corominas met Maria Edith Guevara, the cousin of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who later became a revolutionary and friend of Fidel Castro.
- Corominas was dismissed from his position but Arnaud Denjoy, who had been impressed by Corominas's papers, offered him a position at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris in 1947.
- He invited Corominas to join him at the CSIC so, in 1952, Corominas returned to Barcelona taking up a position at the CSIC.
- Once settled into his new position Corominas produced a remarkable result published in two joint papers with Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer.
- Corominas hoped that he would be able to set up a research school in Barcelona but, despite Rey Pastor's best efforts, he only ever had temporary appointments which were badly-paid.
- Hopeful that this would give him the right atmosphere for teaching and research, Corominas had accepted a position at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas.
- However, Caracas did not provide Corominas with the peace he looked for to devote himself to mathematics.
- There was a military siege of the Central University where Corominas was working.
- Corominas had no fellow mathematicians interested in the topics that he studied so, when he was offered a professorship at the Claude Bernard University of Lyon in France in 1964 he was happy to accept.
- Retirement certainly did not stop Corominas continuing to attend seminars and conferences.
Born 1 February 1913, Barcelona, Spain. Died 24 January 1992, Lyon, 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