Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 1/11/2015 Next >>

Born in Zagreb, Croatia, I was educated by private tutors in place of formal schooling.

After receiving degrees from the University of Zagreb and the University of Gottingen, I accepted a teaching position at the University of Kiel.

Due to German agression at start of WWII, I fled Germany and became a mathematics professor at the University of Stockholm in 1934.

In the mid-1940's I traveled to the U.S., teaching the remainder of my life at Brown University, Cornell University, and Princeton University.

My primary contributions were in the area of probability, including Markov processes and the mathematical theory of Brownian motion.

In a tribute to me, a friend wrote: "Those who knew him personally remember him best for his gusto, the pleasure with which he met life, and the excitement with which he drew on his endless fund of anecdotes about life and its absurdities, particularly the absurdities involving mathematics and mathematicians. To listen to him lecture was a unique experience, for no one else could lecture with such intense excitement."

My awards include being President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, a member of the Royal Statistical Society, and the award of a National Medal for Science.

And I was a special advoctate of the number 17!

Answer: William Feller (1906-1970)