Person: Lehmer (3), Emma
Emma Markovna Lehmer was a Russian-born mathematician known for her work on reciprocity laws in algebraic number theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Emma wrote many years later that she lost all interest in returning to the town of her birth after it was given such an unpleasant sounding name as Kuybyshev, but it reverted to its original name of Samara in 1991, a move which doubtless was strongly approved by Lehmer.
- In Harbin, Lehmer was tutored at home until she was 14 when a new community school opened.
- It was at this school that Lehmer first developed her love of mathematics, encouraged by a superb mathematics teacher who had been an engineer in Moscow.
- On the one hand this led to the creation of the new school, but on the other hand it made Lehmer realise that returning to Russia to study at university was going to be impossible.
- This enabled Lehmer to save enough money to make her education in the United States possible.
- Lehmer applied to Berkeley for entry: a university which had already accepted other students from Harbin, and she was offered a place for entry in 1924.
- Her favourite mathematics lecturer at Berkeley was Derrick Norman Lehmer and as well as taking several of his courses she did a research project with him on finding pseudosquares.
- The two Lehmers' life over the next few years involved moving from place to place as Dick Lehmer sought a permanent university post in the particularly difficult times of the Depression.
- While at Lehigh, Lehmer translated Pontryagin's important book Topological Groups from Russian into English.
- The Lehmers remained at Lehigh until 1940 except for the year 1938-39 which they spent in England visiting both the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester.
- An exception was made for a short time during the war years when the rule was relaxed and Lehmer did some teaching.
- Lehmer found that not having to teach was an advantage to her in giving her more time to work on her research.
- For example around 1930 the Lehmers had applied to the Carnegie Institution for funds to construct a computer to factorise numbers.
- One topic which especially interested Lehmer was reciprocity laws.
- Lehmer was never unhappy with the role she played.
- This meeting will remain a lasting tribute to the Lehmers.
Born 6 November 1906, Samara, Russia. Died 7 May 2007, Berkeley, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Russia, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive