Birkhoff, George David (1884–1944)
The foremost American mathematician of the early 20th century
and the first prominent dynamicist in the New World. He is known for his
work on linear differential equations and difference equations, and
was also deeply interested in and made contributions to the analysis of dynamical systems, celestial mechanics,
the fourcolor map problem, and
function spaces. Although a geometer at heart, he discovered new symbolic
solution methods. He saw beyond the theory of oscillations, created a rigorous
theory of ergodic behavior, and foresaw
dynamical models for chaos. In addition he
wrote on the foundations of relativity and quantum mechanics and on art and music,
e.g., Aesthetic Measure (1933).
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• MATHEMATICIANS
