Person: Zeckendorf, Édouard
Edouard Zeckendorf was a Belgian medical doctor and mathematician best known for his work on Fibonacci numbers.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Dr Abraham Zeckendorf was a dentist and he set up a dental practice in Liège near the end of the 19th century.
- The city was occupied by Germany for the whole of the war so almost all of Zeckendorf's school education took place under German occupation.
- The war ended in 1918 and Zeckendorf graduated from the school in the following year following which he began his studies at the University of Liège.
- Eduourd and Elsa Zeckendorf had a major common interest.
- Zeckendorf too was keen on drawing and this was a hobby which he enjoyed whenever he had some spare time.
- Zeckendorf had another hobby, in addition to art, for he was an excellent amateur mathematician.
- This is called Zeckendorf's theorem, and the subsequence of Fibonacci numbers which add up to a given integer is called its Zeckendorf representation.
- Zeckendorf's parents fled as soon as the invasion began and they settled in Nice, France.
- By 14 May German troops had reached Liège where Zeckendorf continued to work at the hospital.
- (An 'Oflag' was an 'Officierenlager', a camp for imprisoned officers, as contrasted to a 'Stalag'.) During his captivity Dr Zeckendorf provided medical care to allied prisoners of war.
- Zeckendorf escaped from a camp, and afterwards, his status as a nonpracticing Jew was ignored by the Germans.
- Zeckendorf chose to continue his care of prisoners of war in Germany despite opportunities to return to his home.
- Zeckendorf was liberated and, after the surrender of all German troops in Belgium in early May, he was able to return to his home in Liège.
- Following the German surrender in 1945, American troops moved into the house and that was the state of affairs when Zeckendorf reached Liège.
- On 16 March 1949 Zeckendorf went to India at the head of a Belgium contingent which was part of the United Nations effort.
- This resulted in a 800 km ceasefire line between the two countries and Zeckendorf was put in charge of inspecting this ceasefire line.
- MathSciNet list 53 papers with Zeckendorf's name in the title.
- It occurs as "Zeckendorf numbers", "Zeckendorf representations", "Zeckendorf decompositions", "Zeckendorf trees", "Zeckendorf arrays", "Zeckendorf identities", and "Zeckendorf expansions".
- There are over 100 papers in which Zeckendorf's name appears in the review.
- Zeckendorf was elected as an associate member of the Societe Royale des Sciences de Liège on 20 June 1957.
- During the eighteen years of their marriage, Dr and Mrs Zeckendorf enjoyed an active life, visiting exhibits and museums, travelling and visiting cities of artistic interest, and reading.
- After his second wife's death in July 1977, Dr Zeckendorf continued his activities, even after the discovery of cancer.
Born 2 May 1901, Liège, Belgium. Died 16 May 1983, Liège, Belgium.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive