Person: Adam, Pedro Puig
Pedro Puig Adam was a Spanish mathematician and engineer who worked in relativistic mechanics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Pedro was his parents' only son.
- The first workshops of the company were in the Barceloneta district of Barcelona and it was in the primary school in that district that Pedro began his education.
- Concepció Adam had strong convictions and, in particular, was a major influence on her son's religious upbringing.
- At the primary school in Barceloneta, Pedro was taught by Josep Gra and he proved himself an outstanding pupil, excelling in writing and arithmetic.
- Later in 1917 Puig Adam entered the School of Industrial Engineers in Barcelona and as well as studying engineering at this school, he also studied mathematics in the School of Exact Sciences which was in the same building.
- The professor who had the greatest influence on Puig Adam at this stage was Antonio Torroja Miret (1884-1954), Professor of Descriptive Geometry and Geometry of Position at the University of Barcelona, who taught him projective geometry.
- Torroja Miret was the first teacher to introduce Puig Adam to rigorous mathematics, teaching him to both think rigorously and to write rigorous mathematics.
- At this time classes were small and often Puig Adam would be the only student in Torroja Miret's classroom.
- After graduating from the University of Barcelona, Puig Adam went to the Central University of Madrid to complete his doctoral studies.
- Puig Adam was always grateful to these teachers.
- José María Plans was Puig Adam's advisor for his thesis entitled Resolución de algunos problemas elementales en Mecánica relativista restringida Ⓣ(Resolution of some elementary problems in restricted relativistic mechanics) which he submitted in 1921.
- During the following three years a number of famous mathematicians visited Madrid and gave lectures which Puig Adam attended.
- Puig Adam took on a number of different teaching positions over the following years.
- Puig Adam was keen to continue his research and, in 1926, he submitted a request for a scholarship to allow him to go to Munich and work with Constantin Carathéodory.
- A request to Carathéodory to comment on Puig Adam's work from the committee deciding on scholarships led to a very positive report in which Carathéodory praised Puig Adam's research that had been published in papers such as Construcciones métricas y resolución de triángulos esféricos en proyección estereográfica Ⓣ(Metric constructions and resolution of spherical triangles in stereographic projection) (1925), Sobre el problema inverso del cálculo aproximado Ⓣ(On the inverse problem of the approximate calculation) (1926), and Problemas métricos sobre una circunferencia menor Ⓣ(Metric problems on a smaller circumference) (1926).
- Puig Adam was awarded the scholarship and set off on a journey to Munich to work with Carathéodory.
- The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 making life very difficult for Puig Adam, who of course was from Barcelona, working in Madrid.
- Puig Adam had met with Josep Estalella, the director of the Institut-Escola de la Generalitat de Catalunya, back in May 1933 when a group from the Institut-Escola visited Madrid and, in particular, went to discuss teaching with Puig Adam at the Sant Isidre.
- Although Puig Adam was back home in Barcelona and at first in a better position regarding the Civil War, nevertheless the situation grew worse as Franco' army, with air support from Germany and Italy, forced the Republicans back.
- Many of the teachers at the Institutes where Puig Adam worked were either killed or fighting with the army.
- Puig Adam took over the directorship of the Institut-Escola.
- When Barcelona fell to Franco's Nationalists in January 1939 one might have imagined that Puig Adam would have been dismissed but in fact he was able to continue in all his teaching positions in Barcelona.
- Although Puig Adam taught in an exemplary manner at the San Isidro Institute in the 1950s, nevertheless the experience was not made easy by having classes of more than 100 students.
Born 12 May 1900, Barcelona, Spain. Died 12 January 1960, Madrid, Spain.
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