**Walter Ledermann** was a refugee from Germany who did his doctorate at St Andrews and taught here until 1946. He did important work in algebra and in particular in group theory.

- Although very little mathematics was taught in German schools in general, Walter had the advantage that the Leibniz Gymnasium taught more mathematics than other schools as a mark of respect for Leibniz after whom the school was named.
- In 1928, when he was seventeen years old, Ledermann graduated from the Leibniz Gymnasium and received the necessary certificate which allowed him to study at any German university.
- At the University of Berlin Ledermann was taught by many famous mathematicians including Schur, Schmidt, von Mises, Planck, Schrödinger, Hopf, Feigl, and others.
- Ledermann spent one semester in 1931 in Marburg but other than this all his courses were taken in Berlin.
- He was not, however, allowed to lecture but he examined Ledermann before the end of 1933.
- Ledermann was nearing the end of his studies for the Staatsexamen (which would allow him to teach) when Hitler came to power and began passing the anti-Jewish legislation.
- It was quite clear to Ledermann that he had to leave Germany to escape the Nazi persecution of the Jews.
- Ledermann's doctoral studies were supervised by Turnbull and he was awarded his Ph.D. in 1936.
- Ledermann was able to use his expert knowledge of matrix theory to put the work of this group onto a sound mathematical footing.
- The quality of the work Ledermann undertook at this time is clearly shown from the fact that Edinburgh awarded him a D.Sc. for it in 1940.
- While in Edinburgh Ledermann also worked with Max Born and A C Aitken.
- In 1938 Ledermann returned to St Andrews.
- Your special knowledge of the applications of mathematics to problems involving matrices and statistics is an advantage; but you will realise, Walter, in view of the needs of this Department, that proficiency in teaching Applied Mathematics and the functions connected therewith will be important.
- Ledermann remained at St Andrews from 1938 until 1946.
- Ledermann accepted a lectureship at the University of Manchester in 1946.
- By the time he left Manchester, Ledermann had been promoted to a Senior lecturer.
- As well as work in matrix theory which we have commented on above, Ledermann was especially known for his work in homology theory, group theory, and number theory.
- Other books which Ledermann has written for undergraduates include Complex numbers (1960), Integral calculus (1964), Multiple integrals (1966), Introduction to group theory (1973), and Introduction to group characters (1977).
- Among the editorial work undertaken by Ledermann is his editorship of the Journal of the London Mathematical Society (1968-71) and of the Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society (1974-77).
- Ledermann has received honours for his work which include election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1944) and an honorary doctorate from the Open University (1993).

Born and A C Aitken. * In 1938 Ledermann returned to St Andrews. * Your special knowledge of the applications of mathematics to problems involving matrices and statistics is an advantage; but you will realise, Walter, in view of the needs of this Department, that proficiency in teaching Applied Mathematics and the functions connected therewith will be important. * Ledermann remained at St Andrews from 1938 until 1946. * Ledermann's wife Ruth (known as Rushi) was a psychotherapist and the newly married couple decided to move to a bigger city so that Ruth might be able to pursue her work. * Ledermann accepted a lectureship at the University of Manchester in 1946. * By the time he left Manchester, Ledermann had been promoted to a Senior lecturer. * As well as work in matrix theory which we have commented on above, Ledermann was especially known for his work in homology theory, group theory, and number theory. * Other books which Ledermann has written for undergraduates include Complex numbers (1960), Integral calculus (1964), Multiple integrals (1966), Introduction to group theory (1973), and Introduction to group characters (1977). * Among the editorial work undertaken by Ledermann is his editorship of the Journal of the London Mathematical Society (1968-71) and of the Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society (1974-77). * Ledermann has received honours for his work which include election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1944) and an honorary doctorate from the Open University (1993).

Born and A C Aitken. * In 1938 Ledermann returned to St Andrews. * Your special knowledge of the applications of mathematics to problems involving matrices and statistics is an advantage; but you will realise, Walter, in view of the needs of this Department, that proficiency in teaching Applied Mathematics and the functions connected therewith will be important. * Ledermann remained at St Andrews from 1938 until 1946. * Ledermann's wife Ruth (known as Rushi) was a psychotherapist and the newly married couple decided to move to a bigger city so that Ruth might be able to pursue her work. * Ledermann accepted a lectureship at the University of Manchester in 1946. * By the time he left Manchester, Ledermann had been promoted to a Senior lecturer. * As well as work in matrix theory which we have commented on above, Ledermann was especially known for his work in homology theory, group theory, and number theory. * Other books which Ledermann has written for undergraduates include Complex numbers (1960), Integral calculus (1964), Multiple integrals (1966), Introduction to group theory (1973), and Introduction to group characters (1977). * Among the editorial work undertaken by Ledermann is his editorship of the Journal of the London Mathematical Society (1968-71) and of the Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society (1974-77). * Ledermann has received honours for his work which include election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1944) and an honorary doctorate from the Open University (1993).

Born 18 March 1911, Berlin, Germany. Died 22 May 2009, London, England.

View full biography at MacTutor

Algebra, Group Theory, Origin Germany

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive