Person: Schmidt (4), Friedrich Karl
Friedrich Schmidt was a German mathematician who made contributions to algebra and number theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- F-K Schmidt, however, did not lose his interest in philosophy which he continued to study.
- F-K Schmidt was strongly influenced by two mathematicians who were just a couple of years older than him, namely Helmut Hasse and Wolfgang Krull.
- Schmidt notes in the preface to his doctoral thesis that the topic was suggested by Krull who had been, in practice, Schmidt's thesis advisor.
- Krull had obtained his doctorate from Freiburg in 1922 and was a privatdocent during the time F-K Schmidt was undertaking research.
- Hasse, who moved from Kiel to Halle in 1925, corresponded with F-K Schmidt by letter - 150 letters from Schmidt to Hasse, which begin in 1926, were found in his papers at the time of his death.
- The influence of Krull and Hasse on F-K Schmidt can be seen in the outstanding work that he began to produce on the algebraic theory of function fields in one variable, on algebraic number theory and on valuation theory.
- The first main achievement of F K Schmidt is the discovery that the classical theorem of Riemann-Roch on compact Riemann surfaces can be transferred to function fields with finite base field.
- F K Schmidt sent a letter to Hasse and said that now he can go farther than they were able to in Halle; he announces a more detailed letter soon.
- F K Schmidt explains, what is of course evident, that "unique" in this context means "unique up to equivalence" of valuations.
- Two weeks later, in a letter of 29 February 1930, F K Schmidt tells Hasse that now he has completely solved the problem, including the case of non-discrete valuations, and he attaches to his letter a corresponding manuscript.
- That manuscript is not preserved but we may assume that it coincides more or less with F K Schmidt's paper in the 'Mathematische Annalen'; Mehrfach perfekte Körper Ⓣ(Multiple perfect fields) (1933).
- Emmy Noether was dismissed from her position in Göttingen and, on 29 July 1933, Hermann Weyl began negotiating with F-K Schmidt trying to arrange for him to hold a visiting position at Göttingen and give the algebra courses that Emmy Noether had been giving.
- Weyl, however, resigned his position at Göttingen before the deal was finalised but his replacement, Franz Rellich, continued the discussion with Schmidt who accepted the visiting position.
- Also in 1933, F-K Schmidt succeeded Richard Courant as editor of Springer-Verlag's famous "Yellow Series" of mathematical monographs when Courant was dismissed because he was Jewish.
- F-K Schmidt was a Roman Catholic, and not Jewish, but he was quickly out of favour with the Nazis when he refused to remove Richard Courant's name from the title page of the Springer series.
- In October 1934 F-K Schmidt was called to Jena as ordinary professor of mathematics and director of the mathematical institute.
- Ferdinand Springer wanted to send his main mathematical adviser, Friedrich Karl Schmidt, to the United States as a spokesman for his interests in mathematical reviewing.
- When Süss learned about this, he pressed Dames in the Ministry of Education and Research to refuse Schmidt permission to travel ...
- Süss was strongly opposed to Schmidt's journey.
- Schmidt, he had said, still had close ties to Jewish emigrants, and he suggested that he, Süss himself, should go to the United States instead.
- Süss explicitly characterised the 'Zentralblatt' as a foundation of "a group of Jewish mathematicians and their friends" and suggested that Schmidt's travel permission should be revoked and immediately because Schmidt intended to leave for the States the following week.
- When Kummer informed him that Schmidt had already left, Süss told him that to his knowledge Schmidt was only on his way to Bremen to board the ship, which was due from America on May 1 or 2.
- Kummer did not take up the implication that Schmidt could still be stopped, but explained that his superior in the Ministry of Education and Research had definitely decided to let Schmidt go as he was not only to discuss 'Zentralblatt'-matters, but also to evaluate the atmosphere among American mathematicians and, if possible, to change their minds.
- It seems that Süss lost his temper and told Kummer that this was an unsuitable job for Schmidt and that the ministry would have done better to get the opinion of somebody who knew what was going on.
- The decision to send Schmidt he said was asking for trouble.
- Schmidt went on his mission to the United States, but nonetheless the 'Mathematical Reviews' came into being in 1939.
- In fact, when he returned from the United States, F-K Schmidt wrote a report for the Ministry of Education and Research saying that the founding of Mathematical Reviews could still be prevented but fusing de Gruyter and Springer would anger the Americans pushing them into founding Mathematical Reviews.
- The Ministry accepted Schmidt's report keeping de Gruyter and Springer separate but, in May 1939, the American Mathematical Society moved to found Mathematical Reviews which, when the Germans learnt of it, caused Schmidt problems.
- followed Schmidt's outline ...
- F-K Schmidt took up the chair at the University of Münster from October 1946.
- As a lecturer F-K Schmidt was held in high regard.
- We have indicated areas on which F-K Schmidt undertook research throughout this biography.
- Among the honours that Schmidt received for this work we mention his election to the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences in 1954 and the honorary degree that he was awarded by the Free University of Berlin in 1968.
Born 22 September 1901, Düsseldorf, Germany. Died 25 January 1977, Heidelberg, Germany.
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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