Person: Mohamed, Ismail
Ismail Mohamed was a South African mathematician who specialised in group theory. He was imprisoned by the South African government but later became a member of parliament for the ANC.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Ismael Mohamed worked for a tyre company but became a shopkeeper with a small general store in Bloemfontein where he remained for the rest of his life.
- After Rose had made a home in Doornfontein, Mohamed joined her.
- Mohamed, however, was sent to St Joseph's Catholic School for his schooling and, impressed by the nuns' teaching, he was baptised into the Roman Catholic church.
- English was the language of instruction at St Joseph's School and Mohamed had problems with the language.
- Mohamed sailed on the Arundel Castle from Durban, South Africa, arriving in Southampton, England, on 27 September 1957.
- Ellen Mohamed found employment as a Laboratory Technician and simultaneously studied at the Paddington Technical College where she earned a diploma in Chemical Technology.
- In 1960, Mohamed was awarded his M.Sc. from Witwatersrand for his thesis On certain generalisations of equations in groups and the number of solutions while in 1960 he completed his Ph.D. in Mathematics in Group Theory at University of London.
- While studying in London, Mohamed joined the Labour Party and worked with British Trade Unions trying to strengthen the socialist aspect of the Labour Party.
- After the award of his Ph.D. in 1960, Mohamed was appointed as an assistant lecturer at Queen Mary College, University of London.
- The Mohameds watched the television pictures of the massacre in London and felt they had to return to support the antiapartheid movement.
- Mohamed spent the years 1961-64 trying to carry out his job as a mathematician and in parallel he put great energy into working for human rights.
- The University of Zambia was founded in 1965 and Mohamed was offered a senior lectureship in mathematics.
- In 1968 Mohamed's joint paper with Hermann Heineken, A Group with Trivial Centre Satisfying the Normalizer Condition, was published.
- In 1968 Mohamed moved to a senior Lectureship in the Department of Mathematics of the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland which was in Maseru, Lesotho, Southern Africa.
- Mohamed had published a single author paper Non-nilpotent groups with normalizer condition in 1973 which was the text of a talk he had given on his work with Heineken.
- In 1975 Mohamed accepted a position as Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of the Western Cape.
- In June 1976 there were uprisings in Soweto and Mohamed urged the black staff of the university to join the students in protest.
- Mohamed was released in December 1976 and, because of his detention, his university appointment was terminated.
- With this new position Mohamed lived in Newclare, Johannesburg, and began working to support his local community.
- In August 1983 the United Democratic Front was founded and Mohamed, who missed this event through ill health, was elected a Vice-President.
- Our plenary speakers were four leading group theorists; we mention in particular, Gilbert Baumslag, a South African working at the City University of New York, and Jim Roseblade who we mentioned above when discussing the Heineken-Mohamed groups.
- Mohamed wrote to us saying he wished to attend Groups St Andrews 1985 and we invited him to lecture to the conference.
- On 18 February 1985 Mohamed was arrested along with other leaders of the United Democratic Front so could not attend Groups St Andrews 1985.
- Mohamed was due sabbatical leave and he spent time in both London and in the United States until July 1987.
- Mohamed was elected as an African National Congress Member of Parliament.
- Mohamed served three terms as a member of parliament before retiring in 2009.
- For his remarkable achievements, Mohamed received several honours.
Born 27 July 1930, Barkly East, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Died 6 July 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
African, Group Theory, Origin South Africa
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive