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Edmund Georg Hermann (Yehezkel) Landau (14 February 1877 – 19 February 1938) was a German Jewish mathematician and author of over 250 papers on number theory.


Edmund Landau was born in Berlin to a wealthy Jewish family. His father was Leopold Landau, a gynecologist. His mother was Johanna Jacoby from a well known German banking family. Landau studied mathematics at the University of Berlin and received his doctorate in 1899 and his habilitation (the post-doctoral qualification required in German universities) in 1901. In 1905 he married Marianne Ehrlich, the daughter of the biologist Paul Ehrlich, who was awarded the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Landau taught at the University of Berlin from 1899 until 1909 and held a chair at the University of Göttingen from 1909 onwards. Starting in the 1920's Landau was instrumental in establishing the Mathematics Institute at the nascent Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Landau taught himself Hebrew, with the intent of eventually settling in Jerusalem. At the ground breaking ceremony of the Hebrew University on April 2 1925 he lectured in Hebrew on the topic Solved and unsolved problems in elementary number theory. He negotiated with the President of the University, Judah Magnes regarding the details of his position in the University and the building that was to house the Mathematics Institute. In 1927 Landau and his family emigrated to Palestine, and he began teaching at the Hebrew University. The Landau family had difficulty adjusting to the primitive living standards then available in Jerusalem. In addition, Landau became a pawn in a struggle for control of the University between Magnes and Chaim Weizmann and Albert Einstein. Magnes suggested that Landau be appointed rector of the University, but Einstein and Weizmann supported Selig Brodetsky. Landau was disgusted by the dispute, not of his own making, and he decided to return to Göttingen. He remained there until he was forced out by the Nazi regime in 1933 and thereafter he lectured only outside of Germany. In 1934 he moved to Berlin, where he died.

In 1903 Landau gave a much simpler proof than was then known of the prime number theorem and later presented the first systematic treatment of analytic number theory in the Handbuch der Lehre von der Verteilung der Primzahlen, or simply the Handbuch. He also made important contributions to complex analysis.

G. H. Hardy wrote that no one was ever more passionately devoted to mathematics than Landau.

Translated works

* Foundations of Analysis, Chelsea Pub Co. ISBN 0-8218-2693-X.
* Differential and Integral Calculus, American Mathematical Society. ISBN 0-8218-2830-4.
* Elementary Number Theory, American Mathematical Society. ISBN 0-8218-2004-4.

See also

* Landau's function
* Landau prime ideal theorem
* Landau's problems
* Landau's symbol (Big O notation)
* Landau–Kolmogorov inequality
* Landau-Ramanujan constant

Further reading

* Hardy, G. H.; H. Heilbronn (1938). "Edmund Landau". Journal of the London Mathematical Society 13: 302–310. doi:10.1112/jlms/s1-13.4.302. http://www.numbertheory.org/obituaries/LMS/landau/index.html. Retrieved 2009-06-11. Obituary and review of scientific work and books.

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Edmund Landau", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Landau.html .
* Edmund Landau at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* Biography at the Hebrew University
* Edmund Landau: The Master Rigorist by Eli Maor, Trigonometric Delights, page 192.


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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