EF — Mathematics and Computer Science

Biographisch-literarisches Handwörterbuch der exakten Naturwissenschaften [Biographical-Literary Pocket Dictionary of the Exact Sciences]. J. C. Poggendorff. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. 25 cm. [06-2-385]

Ergänzungsband Mathematik [Supplementary Volume: Mathematics]. Ed. Heidi Kühn for the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig.. ISBN 3-527-40330-2: EUR 269

Pt. 1. A-K. 2004. xxxv, 575 p.

Pt. 2. L-Z. 2004. ii, p. 579-1,012

Pt. 3. Zitierte Zeitschriften, Sammelwerke und Monographien [Cited Journals, Collected Works, and Monographs]. 2004. viii, 325 p.

Begun in 1978, this three-part work appeared in 2004, the same year as the eight-volume Biographisch-literarisches Handwörterbuch der exakten Naturwissenschaften [Biographical-Literary Dictionary of the Exact Sciences] (see RREA 12:268), commonly known as the Poggendorff, was concluded. The Supplemental Volume was originally intended to be the 9th volume of the Poggendorff, subdivided into the disciplines of mathematics, geology & astronomy, physics, and chemistry. From over 4,500 mathematicians and scholars in related disciplines, 756 have been included in this volume.

The work does not claim to be comprehensive, covering persons not included in the eight-volume Poggendorff, persons born between 1820 and 1920 and having died by 1985. The bio-bibliographical entries in parts 1 and 2 follow the layout of the Poggendorff: (1) name, (2) birth & death dates and places, (3) brief biography (with life stations, professional memberships, accolades, awards, and honors), (4) writings about the person (life and work, personal biographies, festschrifts, letters, autobiographical writings), (5) publications (edited, co-edited, translated, chapters, monographs, collected works, journal articles), and (6) co-authors. The third part contains a key to the abbreviations for the journals cited in the bibliographies in parts 1 and 2. This Supplemental Volume is such an important addendum to the Poggendorff that it is regrettable that the entries have not been included in the DVD edition. [sh/ga]

Biographisches Lexikon in Mathematik promovierter Personen an deutschen Universitäten und Technischen Hochschulen: WS 1907/08 bis WS 1944/45 / [Biographical Dictionary of Graduates in Mathematics at German Universities and Technical Schools: Winter Semesters 1907/08 to 1944/45]. Renate Tobies. Augsburg: Rauner, 2006. 402 p. ill. 21 cm. (Algorismus, 58). ISBN 978-3-936905-21-2; ISBN 3-936905-21-5 [06-2-386]

The compiler of this biographical dictionary, Renate Tobies is herself represented by no fewer than 13 entries in the bibliography (p. 389-395), eight of which are works on women mathematicians. Not surprising then, that she gives her rationale for beginning the dictionary with the winter semester of 1907/08 as being the desire to maximize the number of women included. Still, the choice seems somewhat arbitrary, since her primary source, the Jahresverzeichnis der an den deutschen Universitäten erschienenen Schriften [Annual Directory of Theses Written at German Universities] has appeared under various titles since 1885/86. Thus, there is a missed opportunity for coverage of all six decades.

In fact, there is no shortage of reference works listing dissertations in mathematics at German universities. Beyond the general coverage of the aforementioned Jahresverzeichnis there is a supplement to the Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung [Annual Report of the Association of German Mathematicians] from 1961-1970 as well as numerous publications covering the field of Mathematics at particular institutions. Overall there is an abundance of publications on the field in Germany as a whole and at individual universities. All of these sources are cited in Tobies bibliography, or in the Quellen [Sources] section at the end of each of the 1,466 brief biographical entries that comprise the main section of the work. Each entry is arranged in keyword categories such as name, birth and death dates, degrees, etc., and includes information on family background. Often lacking are details on post-graduate careers, even though, at least for the 5,500 members of the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung [German Mathematicians Association], these are readily available in the Jahresbericht mentioned above. The volume is sparsely illustrated with small black-and-white photographs. The preliminaries include articles on “Trends in career paths for Mathematicians” (p. 9-11) and “The state of research on Mathematics Graduates at individual Institutions” (p. 16-35) [sh/kst]

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