Person: Federer, Herbert
Herbert Federer was an Austrian-born American mathematician who worked in geometric measure theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Federer began his undergraduate education at Santa Barbara and then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, receiving the degree of B.A. in mathematics and physics in 1942.
- At this stage, Federer was unsure whether he had the right abilities to become a research mathematician so he asked one of his professors, Anthony Perry Morse (1911-1984), to give him a problem to test whether he was capable of research.
- The problem that Morse gave Federer set his research direction for the next few years and his work on the problem clearly showed his research potential.
- Federer and Morse wrote up the solution to the problem as the joint paper Some properties of measurable functions which was published in 1943.
- These papers contain the first contributions that Federer made to the study of Lebesgue area.
- In 1948 Federer produced mimeographed notes for the course An Introduction to Differential Geometry that he was giving at Brown University.
- In 1961, in collaboration with Bjarni Jonsson, Federer published the undergraduate text Analytic Geometry and Calculus.
- Federer is most famous, however, for his book Geometric measure theory (1969).
- We shall be grateful to Federer for so diligently and carefully performing the immense task of organizing into a magnificent whole this vast body of previously scattered and not easily accessible material.
- Federer is surely one of the bright mathematical stars of our era.
- For his remarkable contributions to mathematics, Federer was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1962) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1975).
- Frank Morgan, was a graduate student at Princeton when he met Federer at a conference at Park City, Utah, in 1977.
- Federer was kind and helpful to the young graduate student and they became friends.
- Everything was meticulously planned, from the lovely paths around the property to the way that Federer's file cabinet fitted perfectly into his bedroom closet.
- Following Federer's death, a memorial conference was organised at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
- The one-day conference, held on 16 April 2011, featured six lectures relevant to the work of Herbert Federer.
Born 23 July 1920, Vienna, Austria. Died 21 April 2010, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
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