Erhard Schmidt
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Erhard Schmidt
Erhard Schmidt
Erhard Schmidt.jpg
Erhard Schmidt (courtesy MFO)
Born(1876-01-13)13 January 1876
Died6 December 1959(1959-12-06) (aged 83)
Alma materUniversity of Göttingen
Scientific career
ThesisEntwickelung willkürlicher Functionen nach Systemen vorgeschriebener (1905)
Doctoral advisorDavid Hilbert[1]
Doctoral studentsSalomon Bochner
Alfred Brauer
Richard Brauer
Lothar Collatz
Alexander Dinghas
Michael Golomb
Guido Hoheisel
Eberhard Hopf
Heinz Hopf
Martin Kneser
Wilhelm Specht

Erhard Schmidt (13 January 1876 - 6 December 1959) was a Baltic German mathematician whose work significantly influenced the direction of mathematics in the twentieth century.[2] Schmidt was born in Tartu (German: Dorpat), in the Governorate of Livonia (now Estonia).


His advisor was David Hilbert[1] and he was awarded his doctorate from University of Göttingen in 1905. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Entwickelung willkürlicher Funktionen nach Systemen vorgeschriebener and was a work on integral equations.[1] Together with David Hilbert he made important contributions to functional analysis. Ernst Zermelo credited conversations with Schmidt for the idea and method for his classic 1904 proof of the Well-ordering theorem from an "Axiom of choice", which has become an integral part of modern set theory.[3]

After the war, in 1948, Schmidt founded and became the first editor-in-chief of the journal Mathematische Nachrichten.[2]

National Socialism

During World War II Schmidt held positions of authority at the University of Berlin and had to carry out various Nazi resolutions against the Jews--a job that he apparently did not do well, since he was criticized at one point for not understanding the "Jewish question." At the celebration of Schmidt's 75th birthday in 1951 a prominent Jewish mathematician, Hans Freudenthal, who had survived the Nazi years, spoke of the difficulties that Schmidt faced during that period without criticism.[2] He was, however, a conservative and a nationalist, and defended Hitler after Kristallnacht, telling Issai Schur that "Suppose we had to fight a war to rearm Germany, unite with Austria, liberate the Saar and the German part of Czechoslovakia. Such a war would have cost us half a million young men. But everybody would have admired our victorious leader. Now, Hitler has sacrificed half a million Jews and has achieved great things for Germany. I hope some day you will be recompensed but I am still grateful to Hitler".[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Erhard Schmidt at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b c O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Erhard Schmidt", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  3. ^ Zermelo 1904, pp. 514, 516.
  4. ^ Sanford L. Segal, Mathematicians Under the Nazis, Princeton University Press 2003, Page 358.
  5. ^ Diestel, Joseph; Jarchow, Hans; Tonge, Andrew (1995). Absolutely summing operators. Cambridge University Press. pp. 90-91. ISBN 0-521-43168-9.


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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