Person: Neumann (4), Hanna
Hanna Neumann worked in group theory. Her thesis examined free products with amalgamation. Later she worked on varieties of groups and her book _Varieties of Groups _ (1967) is a classic.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- At the age of six Hanna entered a private school and, two years later in 1922, she began her studies at the Augusta-Victoria-Schule which was a Realgymnasium for girls.
- This woman, who was to become a trusted friend in the turbulent Nazi years ahead, by the example of her fortitude, sense of humour, tolerance and wisdom, strongly influenced Hanna's view of people and events; her lack of hatred and bitterness, more than anything else, convinced Hanna that they have no place, ever, in human relations.
- At Easter 1932, Hanna entered the University of Berlin.
- Bieberbach was an inspiring, if unorganised, lecturer and Hanna almost became a geometer.
- She also became part of a group of mathematics students, almost all several years her senior, which included Werner Fenchel, Kurt Hirsch, Rudolf Kochendörffer, Richard Rado, Helmut Wielandt, and Bernhard Neumann.
- However, after the Nazis came to power in 1933 Hanna became unhappy.
- She had started a special friendship with Bernhard Neumann in January 1933, but in April, after Hitler came to power, he realised that since he was Jewish he had to leave the country which he did in August 1933.
- At Easter 1934 Hanna visited Bernhard in Cambridge, England, and they were secretly engaged.
- Hanna was strongly opposed to the Nazis and was a member of a group of students who tried to protect their Jewish lecturers.
- A highly successful undergraduate career meant that Hanna wanted to continue to study for a doctorate.
- Between taking the Staatsexamen in 1936 and the summer of 1937 when she moved to Göttingen, Hanna took a job as a statistician at an institute of military economics.
- When Hitler declared his decision to destroy Czechoslovakia at the end of May, Hanna realised that if she remained in Germany to complete her doctorate it could be many years before she would be able to marry Bernhard.
- Hanna and Bernhard felt they could not openly marry until his parents were safe from possible reprisals.
- Hanna wrote her first paper On the elimination rule which was published in the Journal of the London Mathematical Society in 1940.
- Bernhard was interned for a few months, following which he was drafted into the army, and Hanna enrolled at Oxford to study for a doctorate supervised by Olgar Taussky-Todd.
- Hanna's thesis was on the subgroups of free products of groups with amalgamated subgroup, generalising the Kurosh subgroup theorem (proved in the 1930s) which describes subgroups of a free product of groups.
- Hanna Neumann completed work on her thesis by the summer of 1943 and awarded her doctorate after the thesis was examined by Philip Hall and Henry Whitehead in April 1944.
- By this time Hanna had been able to return to Cardiff.
- Hanna was appointed as a Temporary Assistant Lecturer at Hull and she taught there for twelve years reaching the position of Senior Lecturer.
- In 1958 Hanna was able to join Bernhard in Manchester when she was appointed as a lecturer at Manchester College of Science and Technology (UMIST).
- Their three sons accompanied them and Peter Neumann, by then an undergraduate at Oxford, joined in with his parents' research efforts.
- The result was the important paper Wreath products and varieties of groups jointly authored by Bernhard, Hanna and Peter Neumann.
- In August 1963 Hanna and Bernhard went to Australia where she was to spend the rest of her career.
- After lecturing in a number of universities Hanna reached Carleton University, Ottawa.
- Hanna Neumann is best known for her work on varieties of groups and she presented a paper entitled Varieties of Groups to the International Conference on the Theory of Groups held in Canberra in 1965 (she was one of the main organisers of the conference).
Born 12 February 1914, Lankwitz, Berlin, Germany. Died 14 November 1971, Ottawa, Canada.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Algebra, Group Theory, Origin Germany, Women
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive