Person: Levitzki, Jacob
Jacob Levitzk was a Ukrainian-born Israeli mathematician who worked on noncommutative rings.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Levitzki was educated at the Herzliya Gymnasium in Tel Aviv, the country's first Hebrew school.
- It was not mathematics that was Levitzki's favourite school subject but rather he loved chemistry and, after graduating from the Herzliya Gymnasium in 1922, he travelled to Germany intending to read for a degree in chemistry at the University of Göttingen.
- Although Benjamin Amirà was eight years older than Levitzki, the two families were very friendly.
- He was in Göttingen until 1924 so, when Levitzki arrived there to study chemistry in 1922 he was pleased to meet up again with Amirà who persuaded him to attend one of Emmy Noether's lecture courses.
- Levitzki was captivated by Noether's mathematics and changed from chemistry to study mathematics from that point on.
- After spending the academic year 1928-29 at the University of Kiel in Germany, Levitzki went to the United States where he was a Sterling Research Fellow at Yale University until 1931.
- Leaving Yale later in 1931, Levitzki returned to Israel where he was appointed to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- Edmund Landau had left Jerusalem and returned to Germany by the time Levitzki took up his appointment at the Hebrew University, but Amirà was continuing to develop the Institute of Mathematics there along the lines that Landau had established.
- It is not surprising that Levitzki's first interest was nilpotent elements and nil subrings.
- Jacob and Charlotte (known as Lotte) Levitzki had a son, Alexander Levitzki, was born on 13 August 1940.
- Only in 1938-39 did both Hopkins (using left ideals and Levitzki (with right ideals) simultaneously and independently, in two different parts of the world, prove the now classic structure theorems of rings with the descending chain condition.
- It was unfortunate for Levitzki that his paper was sent to the editor of a European journal and the situation in Germany and the Second World War prevented his work from being presented to the world until much later.
- In fact, Levitzki's paper On rings which satisfy the minimum condition for the right-hand ideals was published in 1939.
- Levitzki's proof is longer than Hopkins', but will later be applied to further classes of rings.
- Levitzki did indeed produce a further generalisation of the Wedderburn structure theorem in his paper On the radical of a general ring (1943).
- Levitzki proved this to be the case and indeed proved an even stronger result in his paper Solution of a problem of G Koethe (1945).
- Koethe was an Austrian mathematician who, like Levitzki, began his university career studying chemistry and changed to mathematics.
- Let us record that Levitzki's son, Alexander, won the Israel Prize for Life Sciences in 1990.
- Alexander Levitzki established the Levitzki Prize in memory of his parents Jacob and Charlotte Levitzki.
Born 17 August 1904, Kherson, Ukraine. Died 25 February 1956, Jerusalem, Israel.
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