Person: Kiss, Elemér
Elemér Kiss was a Hungarian mathematician and historian of mathematics, best known for his work on János Bolyai.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- He began his studies at the Catholic Gymnasium in 1940 and, after eight years at the school, Kiss went to Cluj where he attended the Bolyai University, beginning his studies in 1948.
- For a short history of the Bolyai University we refer the reader to our biography of Gyula Maurer who was also a student at the Bolyai University when Kiss entered, but two years ahead of him.
- At the Bolyai University Kiss had Samu Borbély, Ferenc Radó and Jenő Gergely among his professors.
- Kiss graduated from the Bolyai University in 1951, obtaining a qualification to teach mathematics and physics at a high school, and spent the next ten years as a secondary school teacher.
- Kiss taught at this famous school until 1961 when he was appointed as a lecturer in the Mathematics Department of the Teachers' College in Târgu-Mureș.
- In this period, Kiss was elected a member in the leadership of the Romanian Society of mathematics between 1962-65.
- In 1974 Kiss was awarded his doctorate from the Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj for his thesis on algebra.
- Kiss served as Head of the Department of Mathematics between 1976 and 1985.
- Kiss continued to teach at this institution in each of its different characters and different names.
- In 1999, when Kiss was seventy years of age, he retired from the Petru Maior University of Târgu-Mureș.
- We look now at the mathematical contributions made by Kiss.
- The next topic to interest Kiss was related to ring theory.
- In the second of these papers Kiss generalises standard properties of the centre of a ring to the pseudocentre.
- The research for which Kiss is most famous is his contributions to the history of mathematics which he began in the middle of the 1990s.
- In 1995 Kiss published Fermat's theorem in János Bolyai's manuscripts.
- Working on Bolyai's manuscripts, Kiss found that Bolyai investigated Fermat's Little Theorem which, he says, is "unexpected, for all the authors of Bolyai's monographs agree with the opinion that the creator of the non-Euclidean geometry hadn't ever been dealing with number theoretic problems".
- Kiss continued to explore this line of research and published A short proof of Fermat's two-square theorem given by János Bolyai (1997), János Bolyai's enquiries on the decomposition of the primes 4m+14m + 14m+1 into sums of two squares (1998), and Notes on János Bolyai's researches in number theory (1999).
- In 1999 Kiss's book Mathematical gems from the Bolyai chests.
- After the publication of this book, Kiss continued to publish papers improving understanding of the mathematical achievements of János Bolyai.
- In 2006, the year in which Kiss died, he published János Bolyai's new face.
- Four years after Kiss's death, a joint paper with Péter Gábor Szabó was published, namely The problems of the mathematical analysis in the manuscript heritage of the two Bolyais (Hungarian) (2010).
- Among the honours given to Kiss we mention his election to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2001) and being made a Freeman of the city of Târgu-Mureș (2006).
- The Kiss Elemér College of the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania in Târgu-Mureș is named for him.
Born 25 August 1929, Braşov, Romania. Died 23 August 2006, Târgu-Mureş, Romania.
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