Person: Robinson (4), Julia Bowman
Julia B Robinson worked on computability, decision problems and non-standard models of arithmetic.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Ralph Bowman owned a machine tool and equipment company while Helen had been a primary school teacher before her marriage.
- The arrangement allowed both Julia and Constance to progress more rapidly through the levels than might otherwise have been possible.
- Scarlet fever marked the beginning of a very difficult time for Julia.
- By the time she had fully regained her health, Julia had missed two years schooling.
- Bowman spent the year 1932-33 at the Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School before entering San Diego High School in 1933.
- However the Great Depression began in 1929 and by 1937 all Ralph Bowman's savings had been wiped out.
- The biggest influence on Bowman's mathematical development at this time came not through her College courses but through reading Bell's Men of Mathematics.
- Unhappy with the level of mathematics taught at San Diego State College, Bowman transferred to the University of California at Berkeley and after one year there she was awarded an A.B. During that year she took a number theory course from Raphael Robinson and began going for walks with him; on these he would teach her more mathematics which she found very exciting.
- When Bowman's job applications failed, Neyman found a small amount of money to allow her to stay on at Berkeley as his assistant.
- Robinson left mathematics at this time.
- In her thesis Definability and decision problems in arithmetic Robinson proved that the arithmetic of rational numbers is undecidable by giving an arithmetical definition of the integers in the rationals.
- Robinson was awarded a doctorate in 1948 and that same year started work on Hilbert's Tenth Problem: find an effective way to determine whether a Diophantine equation is soluble.
- Along with Martin Davis and Hilary Putman she gave a fundamental result which contributed to the solution to Hilbert's Tenth Problem, making what became known as the Robinson hypothesis.
- Returning to the year 1949-50, Robinson spent that year at the RAND Corporation working on game theory.
- In addition to work on Hilbert's Tenth Problem, Robinson also wrote other important mathematics papers: on general recursive functions (1950), on primitive recursive functions (1955), on the undecidability of algebraic rings and fields (1959) and on decision problems for algebraic rings in 1962 in which she showed that rings of integers of various fields of algebraic numbers are undecidable.
- Although she kept working on mathematics, Robinson suffered health problems in the 1960s having heart surgery.
- In 1971 at a conference in Bucharest Robinson gave a lecture Solving diophantine equations in which she set the agenda for continuing to study Diophantine equations following the negative solution to Hilbert's Tenth Problem problem.
- Julia Robinson received many honours.
- When Raphael Robinson died in January 1995 almost all his estate went into the Fellowship Fund.
Born 8 December 1919, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Died 30 July 1985, Berkeley, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Usa, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive