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Edmund Landau Edit Profile

Mathematician

A leading German mathematician who did important work in the theory of functions and was one of the founders of modern number theory.

Background

Edmund Landau was born on 14 February 1877 in Berlin, the son of the famous Professor of Gynaecology, Leopold Landau.

Career

Born in Warsaw, his father had been active in Jewish affairs, an interest shared by his Zionist-oriented son. In 1909 Edmund Landau succeeded Herman Minkowski as Professor of Mathematics at Göttingen and in the same year published the first systematic account of modern number theory, Handbuch der Lehre von der Verteilung der Primzahlen (2 vols.).

He was subsequently elected a full member of the Academies of Berlin, Göttingen, Halle, Leningrad and Rome. For several years a member of the Hebrew University's Board of Governors, Landau briefly took over the chair of mathematics at Jerusalem in 1927, returning to Göttingen the following year. His status as a long-standing civil servant initially spared him from the dismissals effected at Göttingen in April 1933, but anti-semitic demonstrations and boycotts organized by Nazi students made his position untenable.

Following his compulsory retirement as a result of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, Landau returned to Berlin, where he died on 19 February 1938.