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Birkhoff, George David

Born: 1884 AD
Died: 1944 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Educators, Mathematicians

1884 – Born on the 21st of March in Overisel, Michigan. A foremost American mathematician of the early 20th century, who formulated the ergodic theorem.

1896 – Birkhoff studied at the Lewis Institute, Chicago.

         – During his undergraduate years he also made a definite beginning in analysis, as is proved by the fact that he read a paper entitled "A general remainder theorem" before the American Mathematical Society in New York in February.

1905 – Birkhoff obtained his A.B. and A.M. from Harvard.

1907 – Birkhoff returned to the University of Chicago and received his Ph.D. summa cum laude at the age of twenty-three.

1908 – Married to Miss Margaret Elizabeth Graftus, a union of mutual devotion and helpfulness which lasted throughout the rest of his life.

1909-1911 – He came to Princeton University as a preceptor and was promoted to a professorship on the occasion of a call to Harvard.

1912 – Served as Professor at Harvard University.

1913 – Proved Poincaré’s "Last Geometric Theorem," a special case of the three-body problem.

         – The theorem, which Poincaré announced without proof shortly before he died, confirms the existence of an infinite number of periodic solutions for the restricted three-body problem—i.e., stable orbits involving three (solar) bodies. Birkhoff’s proof was a striking achievement and one that brought him immediate worldwide acclaim.

1919 – Served as Vice-president of the American Mathematical Society.

1920 – Editor of Transactions of the American Mathematical Society.

1921 – He edited the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society.

1923 – Awarded the Bôcher Memorial Prize by the American Mathematical Society.

1925 – President of the American Mathematical Society.

         – He focused on differential equations and celestial mechanics, proving Poincare’s ‘last geometric theorem’.

1928 – Published his Dynamical Systems.

1933 – His geometry work remains standard for today’s high-school students, and a lifelong interest in music and the arts culminated in his book Aesthetic Measure.

1935-1939 – Dean of arts and sciences at Harvard University.

1941 – Birkhoff’s works include Relativity and Modern Physics, Dynamical Systems, Aesthetic Measure, and a textbook on elementary geometry, Basic Geometry (with Ralph Beatley).

1944 – George David Birkhoff died on 12th of November in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

         – Birkhoff taught at the University of Wisconsin, Princeton University, and Harvard University until his death.