Hausdorff, Felix (1868–1942)
German mathematician who is considered to be one of the founders of modern
topology and who also did significant work
in set theory and functional analysis. Among several concepts named after
him is the Hausdorff dimension, which
gives a way of assigning a fractional dimension to a curve or shape. Hausdorff
also published philosophical and literary works under the pseudonym "Paul
Mongré." He studied at Leipzig and taught mathematics there until 1910,
when he became professor of mathematics at Bonn. When the Nazis came to
power, Hausdorff, a Jew, felt that as a respected university professor he
would be safe from persecution. However, his abstract mathematics was denounced
as useless and "unGerman" and he lost his position in 1935. He sent his
daughter to Britain but stayed with his wife in Germany. When in 1942 he
could no longer avoid being sent to a concentration camp, he committed suicide
together with his wife and sisterinlaw. Related category
• MATHEMATICIANS
