George David Birkhoff Born: 21Mar1884 Birthplace: Overisel, MI Died: 12Nov1944 Location of death: Cambridge, MA Cause of death: Heart Failure
Gender: Male Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Straight Occupation: Mathematician Nationality: United States Executive summary: Modern theory of dynamical systems Mathematician George David Birkhoff proved ergodic and geometrical theorems; published important papers on celestial mechanics, differential equations, number theory, pointset theory, quantum mechanics, and relativity, and established the basics of modern dynamical systems. Later in his career he wrote Aesthetic Measure, which sought to explain the fine arts through mathematical equations, and argued for a fourdimensional theory of gravitation. He was criticized by Albert Einstein as "one of the world's great antiSemites", and worked to exclude Jews from immigrating to America and from employment at Harvard.
Father: David Birkhoff (physician) Mother: Jane Gertrude Droppers Birkhoff Wife: Margaret Elizabeth Grafius Birkhoff (m. 2Sep1908) Daughter: Barbara Birkhoff Paine (photographer, b. circa 1909, d. 1995) Son: Garrett Birkhoff (mathematician, b. 1911, d. 1996) Son: Rodney Birkhoff
University: Illinois Institute of Technology (attended) University: University of Chicago (attended, 190203) University: BA Mathematics, Harvard University (1905) University: MA Mathematics, Harvard University (1906) University: PhD Mathematics, University of Chicago (1907) Teacher: Mathematics, University of Wisconsin at Madison (190709) Teacher: Mathematics, Princeton University (190911) Professor: Mathematics, Princeton University (191112) Teacher: Mathematics, Harvard University (191219) Professor: Mathematics, Harvard University (191944) Administrator: Dean of Arts & Sciences, Harvard University (193539)
American Association for the Advancement of Science American Academy of Arts and Sciences American Mathematical Society (Vice President, 1919; President, 192526) American Philosophical Society National Academy of Sciences 1918 Pontifical Academy of Sciences French Legion of Honor 1936 Transactions of the American Mathematical Society Editor (192124)
Dutch Ancestry
Author of books:
Relativity and Modern Physics (1923) Dynamical Systems (1927) Aesthetic Measure (1933) Electricity as a Fluid (1938) Basic Geometry (1941)
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