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Birkhoff, George David

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Born: 1884 AD
Died: 1944 AD, at 60 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Educators, Mathematicians

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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.


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Page last updated: 1:17am, 09th Aug '07