Person: Schützenberger, Marcel-Paul
Marcel-Paul Schützenberger was a French mathematician and medical doctor. He worked in the fields of formal language, combinatorics and semigroup theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Since this was 50 years before Schützenberger was born it might not seem worth mentioning, but Schützenberger himself was always very aware of his Alsatian origins.
- One of his ancestors was the famous chemist Paul Schützenberger who worked at the Collège de France in Paris and discovered the acetylation of cellulose by acetic anhydride in 1865.
- Marco Schützenberger was interested in both mathematics and medicine from a young age.
- Of course studying in Paris in the early 1940 during the German occupation was a difficult time for anyone and Schützenberger was no exception.
- Schützenberger joined the Forces Françaises Combattantes in September 1943 and he served in the organisation until August 1944 when they drove the Germans from Paris and de Gaulle entered the city in triumph.
- After this Schützenberger resumed his studies at the Faculty of Medicine.
- Schützenberger continued his interest in mathematics and published seven papers in 1947.
- As well as papers on lattices and Axiomatisation de la géométrie dans un complexe linéaire de droites Ⓣ(Axiomatization of geometry in a complex of straight lines) in which he gives a framework for the axiomatic treatment of linear complexes, Schützenberger wrote on statistics.
- From 1953 Schützenberger worked for three years as a researcher at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique.
- This was arranged to coincide with the year 1956-57 which Shannon spent as a visiting professor at M.I.T. Schützenberger returned to France to take up an appointment as Professor in the Faculty of Sciences in Poitiers.
- The range of Schützenberger's contributions is so vast that it is almost impossible to do them justice in a biography of this type - his list of publications numbers over 250.
- Schützenberger's works contributed strongly to giving semigroup theory its letters of nobility by taking it out of its self-contemplation and putting it at work in areas of mainstream mathematics.
- It was in this area that Schützenberger introduced what have been called Schützenberger groups and Schützenberger representations by Clifford and Preston in their influential book The Algebraic Theory of Semigroups (1961).
- One topic which we have not mention so far is one which Schützenberger held very strong views - the theory of evolution.
- Let us look at Schützenberger's character as described by those who knew him best.
- Hariati died in 1993, three years before Schützenberger.
Born 24 October 1920, Paris, France. Died 29 July 1996, Paris, France.
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