Person: Frank (2), Marguerite Straus
Marguerite Straus Frank is famed both for her remarkable new discoveries of simple Lie algebras, and her solution to the problem of maximising a concave quadratic function, now known as the Frank-Wolfe algorithm.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Marguerite Straus's parents were Julius Salomone Straus (known as Jules) (1886-1946) and Paula Straus (1899-?).
- Jules Straus was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, on 17 September 1886.
- Paula Straus was born in Pinsk, Poland on 2 February 1899.
- Marguerite sent the early years of her life in Paris where she began her education at a private school.
- Jules Straus had became ill in 1924 when he contracted encephalitis lethargica during an epidemic.
- Paula Straus made visits to New York, where she stayed in the Barbizon Plaza Hotel, and to Canada in the years 1935, 1936 and 1937.
- Marguerite at this time is eleven years old, 4 ft 8 ins tall with brown hair and brown eyes.
- Marguerite Straus attended the Jarvis Collegiate Institute, a high school in Toronto named after Jarvis Street where it is located.
- Straus quickly became enthusiastic about the algebra she was learning in his classes.
- Straus graduated with a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1947 and won a fellowship to attend graduate school at Harvard University.
- Richard Brauer had given Straus a love of algebra but at Harvard she was assigned to Oscar Zariski who was working on algebraic geometry.
- Zariski had been appointed to the chair of mathematics at Harvard in 1947, the year in which Straus began her graduate studies there.
- Although when she arrived at Harvard, Straus had been expecting to study first for a Master's degree, then proceed to a Ph.D., in fact she somewhat lost confidence in herself in the highly charged competitive environment.
- Marguerite sensed a grudging tolerance and disparagement in his glance, and she seemed to freeze in his presence.
- Marguerite arranged to take classes in history and philosophy in Paris, France, back where she had spent the first eleven years of her life.
- Over the next few years Marguerite returned to Canada for the summer.
- While she was in Paris, Straus met Joseph Nathaniel Frank when both attended discussion groups at the Collège Philosophique.
- By this time Marguerite and Joseph were close and they decided that the would return together to Chicago.
- Marguerite felt sure he would understand both Noether's work and her own.
- Marguerite introduced herself, but glossed over her previous education.
- Marguerite was struck with the contrast with her former supervisor.
- Marguerite wrote out the solution in longhand and brought it to Professor Albert's office.
- Marguerite had discovered a brand new class of simple Lie algebras.
- Once he learned that Marguerite had studied under Brauer and Zariski, her achievement made sense to him.
- This paper by Marguerite Frank was A new class of simple Lie algebras (1954).
- Marguerite Frank and Adrian Albert worked on the ideas that Marguerite Frank had developed and discovered further infinite classes of simple Lie algebras.
- While in Chicago, Marguerite Frank wrote up her Ph.D. thesis entitled New simple Lie algebras which was submitted to Harvard University where she was still registered as a graduate student.
- Marguerite Frank joined the optimisation group at Princeton run by Albert Tucker who was collaborating with Harold Kuhn (1925-2014).
- Marguerite started to find out about linear programming, the simplex method of George Dantzig, and game theory.
- Joseph Frank, a world leading expert on the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, died in Palo Alto, California, on 27 February 2013.
Born 8 September 1927, Paris, France.
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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