Person: Freudenthal, Hans
Hans Freudenthal was a German-born Dutch mathematician who made important contributions to algebraic topology. He also published works on history and mathematical education.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Brouwer lectured in Berlin in that year and the meeting between Freudenthal and Brouwer would lead to Freudenthal's career being entirely in The Netherlands.
- Also in 1927, Freudenthal spent the summer semester at the University of Paris broadening his already broad interests.
- At the University of Berlin his doctoral supervisor was Hopf and in 1931 Freudenthal was awarded his doctorate for a thesis on the theory of ends of groups Über die Enden topologischer Räume und Gruppen Ⓣ(On the ends of topological spaces and groups).
- By the time he was awarded his doctorate, Freudenthal was already in Amsterdam having been invited to go there in 1930 as Brouwer's assistant.
- Being out of Germany had the advantage to Freudenthal that, when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and passed legislation to deprive Jews of their jobs, he could continue with his teaching and research in Amsterdam.
- The Nazi invaders now did not allow Freudenthal to continue to undertake his duties at the University.
- In one such competition in 1944, Freudenthal's work, a novel, was awarded first prize.
- But the ruse succeeded and the prize money reached Freudenthal, a most welcome support during the last war year.
- In May 1945 Amsterdam was liberated by Canadian troops and soon after this Freudenthal was able to resume his duties at the university.
- In 1971 Freudenthal was appointed as the first director of the Institute for the Development of Mathematical Education in Utrecht.
- The Institute became part of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at Utrecht University in 1981 and, in September 1991, it was renamed the Freudenthal Institute.
- As we have indicated, Freudenthal's early work was on topology and algebra.
- Freudenthal's work on the history of mathematics included contributing articles to the Dictionary of Scientific Biography.
- A particular interest that Freudenthal had in the history of mathematics was geometry.
- Freudenthal studied the relation between axiomatic mathematics and reality, and this study led him to contribute to intuitionism, as well as to the application of mathematics to linguistics.
Born 17 September 1905, Luckenwalde, Germany. Died 13 October 1990, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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