Person: Samelson, Hans
Hans Samelson was a German-born American mathematician who worked in differential geometry, topology and Lie groups and algebras.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In November 1918, when Hans was two years old, following the defeat of Germany, French troops entered Strassburg and declared the city to be part of France.
- Although Hans studied at the University of Breslau, advanced studies were restricted and he left Germany in 1936 to study for his doctorate in mathematics at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich.
- Hans worked for his doctorate advised by Heinz Hopf but also attended lectures by Michel Plancherel and George Pólya.
- In 1938 Samelson's paper Über die Drehung der Tangenten offener ebener Kurven Ⓣ(On the rotation of the tangents to open plane curves) was published and, in the same year, a joint paper Zum Beweis des Kongruenzsatzes für Eiflächen Ⓣ(To prove the congruence theorems for oval surfaces) written with Heinz Hopf appeared.
- Hans Samelson continued his research in Switzerland and in 1940 published Über die Sphären, die als Gruppenräume auftreten Ⓣ(On spheres that act as group rings) in which he gave a topological proof that a compact Lie group of rank one (that is a Lie group in which maximal abelian subgroups are of dimension one is homeomorphic to the circle, the 3-sphere or projective 3-space.
- At first the Samelsons sublet an apartment of William "Ted" Martin, who was just leaving Princeton, but then found their own place to live.
- Of course it was vital to Samelson that he remain in the United States after the year in Princeton so he applied for every possible position.
- Samelson took up his appointment at Syracuse University in 1943.
- In 1946 Samelson moved to Ann Arbor and took up an appointment at the University of Michigan.
- Today, that operation is called the Samelson product.
- Perhaps Hans Samelson's most important results were contained in his joint work with R Bott.
- All those interested in Lie algebras will know Samelson's wonderful book Notes on Lie algebras (1969).
- Twenty years after this first edition was published Samelson produced a revised edition.
- Samelson also published a linear algebra text An introduction to linear algebra (1974).
- Away from mathematics Samelson had many other interests.
Born 3 March 1916, Strassburg, Germany, now Strasbourg, France. Died 22 September 2005, Palo Alto, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive