Person: Magnus (2), Wilhelm
Wilhelm Magnus was a German American mathematician who worked in combinatorial group theory, Lie algebras, mathematical physics, elliptic functions, and the study of tessellations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
 Wilhelm attended the Gymnasium in Tübingen from 1916 and was awarded his Abitur in 1925.
 After two semesters at the University of Tübingen, Magnus went to the JohannWolfgangGoetheUniversity of Frankfurt.
 Magnus was also taught by Carl Siegel, who had been appointed to Frankfurt in 1922 to fill Arthur Schönflies's chair, and by Ernst Hellinger, who had been appointed to a chair at the University of Frankfurt in 1914.
 Magnus completed the work for his first degree in Mathematics, Theoretical Physics and Experimental Physics and was awarded the degree on 18 November 1929 with the grade of "excellent".
 Despite the other outstanding teachers he had at Frankfurt, it was Max Dehn, who held the chair of Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Frankfurt from 1921 until 1935, who had become Magnus's Ph.D. advisor in 1928.
 In 1928 Dehn asked Magnus various questions about onerelator groups.
 In this paper Magnus introduced a method of breaking a onerelator group into simpler onerelator groups.
 Magnus was appointed to the staff in Frankfurt serving from 1933 until 1938.
 During this period Magnus introduced Lie ring methods to study the lower central series of free groups.
 In 1935 Magnus gave examples of finitely presented groups which were isomorphic to proper factor groups of themselves.
 During the war, Magnus also undertook military research in the Department of War Marines situated at BerlinWannsee.
 Magnus was offered an ordinary professorship at the University of Göttingen in 1946 but he was not to remain there for long.
 Magnus left Göttingen in 1947 and joined the Bateman project in 1948, first as a visiting researcher.
 In 1950 Magnus went to the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
 It was not only in the breadth and depth of research that Magnus excelled.
 It is unusual for a 20th century mathematician to work in two mathematical areas as far apart as the ones on which Magnus worked.
Born 5 February 1907, Berlin, Germany. Died 15 October 1990, New Rochelle, New York, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Algebra, Group Theory, Origin Germany, Puzzles And Problems
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References
Adapted from other CC BYSA 4.0 Sources:
 O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive