Birkhoff, George David
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.
Page last updated: 1:17am, 09th Aug '07