Person: Karamata, Jovan
Jovan Karamata was an outstanding mathematician who lived through the wars of the first half of the 20th century in the Balkans. He gained international fame with a 2-page proof of the Hardy-Littlewood theorem, and also did excellent work on slowly varying functions and on Tauberian theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- the devoted and deeply pious woman, about whom Jovan Karamata spoke with great respect, had, according to him, a lasting influence on his spiritual development.
- Jovan began his secondary education at the Gymnasium in Zemun in 1912.
- Not surprisingly, Jovan found these years extremely difficult and his education was suffering; he came close to having to repeat his third year at secondary school.
- Jovan spent one year studying at a boarding school in Cressier in the Canton of Bern where he became fluent in French.
- Karamata graduated from the Gymnasium in 1918 and, later that year, began to study at the Gymnase Scientifique.
- This was formally established on 11 May 1924 with Stevan Karamata as its Managing Director.
- Following this advice, in 1920 Jovan had enrolled in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Faculty of Technical Sciences of the University of Belgrade.
- Following his advice, Karamata transferred to study mathematics in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade.
- The leading mathematician at Belgrade at this time was Mihailo Petrović and he played an important role in Karamata's university education.
- Karamata graduated in 1925 and he was appointed as a temporary assistant of Mihailo Petrović.
- Karamata's 2-page 1930 paper was one of the 50.
- Returning to Belgrade, Karamata began a period of remarkably intense work.
- Emilija was fluent in French and German and she assisted Karamata by typing his papers and taking the role of secretary in his correspondence with other mathematicians.
- Karamata's mathematical output was very large with around 120 papers, 15 books (both monographs and textbooks) and 7 works about teaching.
- Apart from greatest efforts in scientific work, Karamata also had other activities.
- Karamata did not accept to rule of Milan Nedic's government, so was dismissed from his university position.
- When the invaders were expelled, Karamata was again arrested in the belief he had collaborated.
- Karamata worked hard to assist these students but times were difficult without most of his former friends and with new ideas about teaching but no new books.
- Given Karamata's background, despite his attempts to fit in, it was inevitable that he would be considered "a reactionary bourgeois capitalist" by the Communist regime.
Born 1 February 1902, Zagreb, Austria-Hungary (now Serbia). Died 14 August 1967, Geneva, Switzerland.
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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