Person: Prager, William
William Prager was a German-born American applied mathematician who worked in the field of mechanics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Then in 1929, when he was only 26 years old, Prager was appointed to act as Director of the Institute of Applied Mathematics at Göttingen.
- In 1932 Prager was appointed as Professor of Technical Mechanics at Karlsruhe.
- The Nazi regime forced Prager out of the professorship and in 1934 he left Germany to go to Turkey where he was appointed as Professor of Theoretical Mechanics at the University of Istanbul.
- But Prager did not accept his treatment by the Nazis without protest.
- In Turkey Prager continued to output research at the highest level, publishing articles in German, Turkish, French and English.
- The outbreak of war in 1939 was distressing to Prager and the German advances by 1940 made him decide that he would be best placed if he could emigrate to the United States.
- This, however, was not easy at this difficult time, even for a scientist with the high international reputation enjoyed by Prager.
- Brown University, in Providence Rhode Island, took the opportunity to expand its graduate programme by offering Prager the position of Director of Advanced Instruction and Research in Mechanics.
- J L Synge was visiting professor at Brown University in 1941 when Prager arrived there.
- They soon began collaborating and publishing papers in the Quarterly of Applied Mathematics which Prager founded in April 1943 and edited for over 20 years.
- In the Walker-Ames Lectures, Prager developed the hypercircle method applying it to statically indeterminate structures and to the equilibrium of elastic solids.
- An important monograph, which Prager wrote jointly with P G Hodge, was Theory of perfectly plastic solids (1951).
- In November and December 1954 Prager gave a series of lectures at the Polytechnic Institute in Zürich.
- Prager further developed the material given in these lectures and presented it in an English version in An introduction to plasticity published in 1959.
- In 1961 Prager published a German and an English version of the same work.
- In this work Prager aimed to provide students with the common fundamentals of the various areas of hydrodynamics, elasticity, plasticity, etc., that constitute continuum mechanics.
- A great expert in the use of computers, Prager published Introduction to basic FORTRAN programming and numerical methods in 1965.
- Prager retired from Brown University in 1973 and moved to Savignon, Switzerland, where he continued to undertake research, write books, give lecture tours, and edit journals.
- His outstanding contributions to applied mathematics led to Prager receiving many honours and awards.
Born 23 May 1903, Karlsruhe, Germany. Died 16 March 1980, Zürich, Switzerland.
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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