David Hilbert was one of the mathematical greats of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Hilbert used an entirely new abstract strategy for his proof, establishing that the theorem was true for an arbitrary number of variables.
This was a major advance in algebraic number theory.
In 1902, age 40, he became co-editor of the world’s leading mathematical journal, until 1939. His knowledge of mathematics was unusually broad as well as deep, and he contributed to several areas of mathematics and also physics.
The mathematics he did is often at a level that can stretch the best of us, so here are brief summaries of some of his most famous achievements.
In 1895, age 33, he moved to the world’s then top mathematics university, the University of Göttingen, Germany, where giants such as Carl Friedrich Gauss, Bernhard Riemann, and Peter Dirichlet had been professors of mathematics.
Hilbert would spend the rest of his career at Göttingen.
Five years later, he had not only obtained a degree in mathematics, but a Ph. The three pushed one another to ever greater mathematical heights – they would continue to exchange ideas for the rest of their careers.
Starting in 1886, David Hilbert worked for nine years at the University of Königsberg, first as a lecturer, then as a professor.
The great unsolved problems Hilbert identified are: Is mathematics doomed to suffer the same fate as other sciences that have split into separate branches? Mathematics is, in my opinion, an indivisible whole…
May the new century bring with it ingenious champions and many zealous and enthusiastic disciples.