Edmund Georg Hermann (Yehezkel)
Landau (14 February 1877 – 19 February 1938) was a German Jewish
mathematician and author of over 250
papers on number theory.
Edmund
Landau was born in Berlin to a wealthy
Jewish family. His father was
Leopold Landau, a gynecologist.
His mother was Johanna
Jacoby from a well known German banking
family.Landau studied mathematics at the University of
Berlin andreceived his doctorate in 1899 and his
habilitation (the
post-doctoralqualification required in German universities) in
1901. In 1905 he married Marianne Ehrlich, the daughter of the
biologist
Paul Ehrlich, who was awarded
the 1908 Nobel prize for medicine and physiology.
Landau
taught at the University of Berlin from 1899
until 1909 and helda chair at the University of
Göttingen from 1909 onwards. Starting in the 1920's
Landau was instrumental in establishing the Mathematics Institute
at the nascent Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Landau taught himself Hebrew, with the
intent of eventually settling in Jerusalem. At the ground breaking
ceremony of the Hebrew University on April 2 1925 he lectured in
Hebrew on the topic
Solved and unsolved problems in elementary
number theory. He negotiated with the President of the
University,
Judah Magnes regarding the
details of his position in the University and the building that was
to house the Mathematics Institute. In
1927
Landau and his family emigrated to Palestine, and he began teaching
at the Hebrew University. The Landau family had difficulty
adjusting to the primitive living standards then available in
Jerusalem. In addition, Landau became a pawn in a struggle for
control of the University between Magnes and
Chaim Weizmann and
Albert Einstein. Magnes suggested that
Landau be appointed rector of the University, but Einstein and
Weizmann supported
Selig Brodetsky.
Landau was disgusted by the dispute, not of his own making, and he
decided to return to Göttingen. He remained there until he was
forced out by the
Nazi regime in 1933 and
thereafter he lectured only outside of Germany. In
1934 he moved to Berlin, where he died.
In 1903 Landau gave a much simpler proof than was then known of
the
prime number theorem and
later presented the first systematictreatment of
analytic number theory in the
Handbuch der Lehre von der Verteilung der Primzahlen, or
simply the
Handbuch. He also made important
contributionsto
complex
analysis.
Hardy wrote that no one was ever more
passionately devoted to mathematics than Landau. This is amply
evidenced by his small book on the axiomatic foundations of
analysis and two very important books on number theory.
Translated works
- Foundations of Analysis, Chelsea Pub Co. ISBN
0-8218-2693-X.
- Differential and Integral Calculus, American Mathematical
Society. ISBN 0-8218-2830-4.
- Elementary Number Theory, American Mathematical Society. ISBN
0-8218-2004-4.
See also
Further reading
- Obituary and review of scientific work and books.
External links