Gerhard Kowalewski | |
---|---|

Born | |

Died | 21 February 1950 | (aged 73)

Nationality | German |

Alma mater | University of Leipzig |

Scientific career | |

Fields | Mathematics |

Doctoral advisor | Sophus Lie Gustav Mayer |

**Gerhard Kowalewski** (27 March 1876 – 21 February 1950) was a German mathematician and member of the Nazi party who introduced the matrices notation.

## Early life

Waldemar Hermann Gerhard Kowalewski was born March 27, 1876, in Alt Järshagen in Pomerania, then part of the German Empire.^{[1]} He was the son of Julius Leonard Kowalewski, a school teacher. In 1893 he left home to attend the University of Königsberg, where his brother Christian Kowalewski was a professor of philosophy and mathematics. There he studied mathematics and philosophy before enrolling at the University of Greifswald, before eventually settling at the University of Leipzig, where he earned his doctorate with the thesis *Über eine Kategorie von Transformationsgruppen einer vierdimensionalen Mannigfaltigkeit* in 1898.^{[1]} At Leipzig he was a student of Sophus Lie, where he was considered one of Lie's most elite and gifted students.^{[2]}

## Academia

In 1901 he became an associate professor at the University of Greifswald before moving on to the University of Bonn in 1904.^{[1]} In 1909 he left for Prague to assume an appointment to a German-based school, before taking a position with the German University of Prague in 1912.^{[1]} From there he took a position at the Technical University of Dresden, culminating in his appointment as Rector in 1935.^{[1]} During 1937—1941, he was an editor of the journal *Deutsche Mathematik*. In 1937 he requested leave and was granted such from the Reich Ministry of Education.^{[3]} He returned to the German University of Prague in 1939 where he held a position until 1945, which following the expulsion of Germans following the war, fled to Munich where he established himself at the Technical University of Munich.^{[1]}

## Legacy

Kowalewski is known for the introduction of the matrices notation in 1909 with his work titled *Determinantentheorie*.^{[1]} He researched theories of determinants, transformation groups, natural and differential geometry, and approximation and interpolation, publishing over 100 works, including *Vorlesungen über natürliche Geometrie*, the German translation of Ernesto Cesàro's work, *Das Integral und seine geometrischen Anwendungen* in 1910, *Über Bolzanos Nichtdifferenzierbare Stetige Funktion*, *Der Keplersche Korper und andere Bauspiele* in 1938, and his memoir in 1950, *Bestand und Wandel*, as well as 24 mathematical textbooks.^{[1]} He was awarded the Lobachevsky Diploma in 1927.^{[1]}

Kowalewski was a member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences, the Société Mathématique de France, and socially associated with members of the Louvre Circle and Prague intellectual elite, which included Berta Fanta, Oskar Kraus, Franz Kafka, Hugo Bergmann, Philipp Frank, Albert Einstein, and Christian von Ehrenfels.^{[4]}

Kowalewski died in 1950 in Gräfelfing.

### Nazi party membership

Kowalewski was a member of the Nazi party,^{[5]} who said about Adolf Hitler that "he has been sent to us by Providence."^{[5]} This helped him secure his position as Rector at the Technical University of Dresden.

## Notes

- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}^{e}^{f}^{g}^{h}^{i}"Kowa-Kozeluch", Allgemeine deutsche Biographie & Neue deutsche Biographie. Retrieved May 20, 2010. **^**"Det var mine tankers djervhet", Arild Stubhaug. Springer Science & Business, 2000. p. 435. ISBN 82-03-22297-8, ISBN 978-82-03-22297-9.**^**"Vorsteher, Direktoren und Rektoren von der Technischen Bildungsanstalt bis zur Technischen Universität Dresden", Technische Universität Dresden. Retrieved May 20, 2010.**^**Smith, Barry. "Brentano and Kafka".*Axiomathes*.**8**: 83–104. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.39.4857. doi:10.1007/bf02681882.- ^
^{a}^{b}"Mathematicians under the Nazis", Sanford L. Segal. Princeton University Press, 2003. pp. 179–180. ISBN 0-691-00451-X, 9780691004518.