◀ ▲ ▶History / 20th-century / Person: Hirzebruch, Friedrich Ernst Peter
Person: Hirzebruch, Friedrich Ernst Peter
Friedrich Hirzebruch was a German mathematician who made important contributions to topology.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Fritz Hirzebruch was the headmaster of a secondary school in Hamm, and he also taught mathematics there.
- In 1937 Friedrich reached the age of ten and at that time he was required to join the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Youth), a subdivision of the Hitler youth for boys aged 10 to 14.
- In March 1945 Hirzebruch was drafted into the German army at the time when Allied forces were on the point of crossing the Rhine.
- By April, Allied forces had taken control of much of Germany and Hirzebruch was taken prisoner.
- Hirzebruch published a paper with the same title as his doctoral thesis in 1953, also publishing three further papers Über die quaternionalen projektiven Räume Ⓣ(On the quaternional projective spaces); On Steenrod's reduced powers, the index of inertia, and the Todd genus and Übertragung einiger Sätze aus der Theorie der algebraischen Flächen auf komplexe Mannigfaltigkeiten von zwei komplexen Dimensionen Ⓣ(Transfer of some results from the theory of algebraic surfaces to complex manifolds of two complex dimensions) in the same year.
- One of his most famous results, now named the Hirzebruch-Riemann-Roch theorem, appeared in his 1954 paper Arithmetic genera and the theorem of Riemann-Roch for algebraic varieties.
- Hirzebruch's impressive work on the Riemann-Roch theorem was fully set out in a book he published in 1956 entitled Neue topologische Methoden in der algebraischen Geometrie Ⓣ(New topological methods in algebraic geometry.).
- In 1956 he became a full professor at the Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn, holding this position until he retired in 1993.
- The list of books written by Hirzebruch is impressive both for the number, the quality of the exposition, and for the influence on the direction of mathematical research.
- In 1962 Hirzebruch gave a series of seminars at Brandeis and Berkeley.
- In 1974 Hirzebruch, jointly with D Zagier, published The Atiyah-Singer theorem and elementary number theory.
- In 1981 a series of five lectures by Hirzebruch and eight lectures by Gerard van der Geer were combined into notes by the two authors entitled Lectures on Hilbert modular surfaces.
- Further works with Hirzebruch as a coauthor are Zahlen (1983), Geradenkonfigurationen und Algebraische Flächen Ⓣ(Line configurations and algebraic surfaces) (1987), and Manifolds and modular forms (1992).
- Hirzebruch also had an important influence on the mathematical life in Germany by organizing the famous Arbeitstagung meetings since 1957.
- From 1959 to 1970 Atiyah and Hirzebruch published nine joint papers.
- The first papers were stimulated by the series of lectures by A Grothendieck during the first Arbeitstagung 1957 generalizing Hirzebruch's Riemann-Roch theorem.
- Hirzebruch founded the Institut für Mathematik of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science in Bonn in 1980.
- Hirzebruch served as director of the Institute from 1980 to 1995.
- Hirzebruch was President of the German Mathematical Society in 1961-62 and again in 1990.
- In addition Hirzebruch has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick, Göttingen, Oxford, Wuppertal, Notre Dame, Dublin, Athens, Potsdam, Konstanz, Humboldt-Berlin, Bar-Ilan, Oslo, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, Augsburg and the Romanian Academy of Sciences in Bucharest.
- Many mathematicians have expanded and generalized Hirzebruch's ideas.
- The German Mathematical Society presented Hirzebruch with their Georg Cantor Medal during a meeting of the Society in Heidelberg in September 2004.
Born 17 October 1927, Hamm, Westphalia, Germany. Died 27 May 2012, Bonn, Germany.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Germany, Topology, Prize Wolf
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive