Warum wurde die Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung innerhalb der Gesellschaft deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte gegründet? Mathematiker-Briefe zur Gründungsgeschichte der DMV. (Why was the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung founded within the Gesellschaft deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte? Letters of mathematicians concerning the history of foundation of the DMV). (German) Zbl 0718.01036

The article tells the story of the founding and of the early years of the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (DMV), referring in particular to letters exchanged between mathematicians at the time - mainly members of the circle around Alfred Clebsch and Felix Klein: As the Gesellschaft deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte (GdNÄ) was established in 1822, one of the sections comprised mathematics and related sciences. This, however, did not happen at the initiative of important mathematicians, nor did the GdNÄ win the interest of these. Only in the later 1860s, as the need for professional communication increased, and as the actual working of the GdNÄ was felt inadequate, did Clebsch spur his former students including Gordan, M. Noether and Klein to initiate a new organization, and only after 1871 did these start moving and getting in contact with Berlin mathematicians. The outcome was a meeting in Göttingen held in 1873 (after the sudden death of Clebsch) arranged independently of the GdNÄ, where some 350 mathematicians were invited and 52 mainly quite young scholars turned up, half of them closely connected to Göttingen University.
After this semi-failure and half-hearted but abortive attempts to arrange another meeting, the initiators gave up, and the next attempt to organize German mathematicians came from elsewhere: In 1889 Georg Cantor, who had been heartily uninterested in 1873, got the agreement that a founding meeting would be held at the GdNÄ-meeting in 1890. Klein was displeased, but decided to have “our friends” “copiously present so that we may control elections as we find adequate” (quotations from two letters). Acting as an eminence grise, he managed to have his friend dominate the first board, and against Cantor (and contrary to his own policies from 1873) he managed to keep the new Deutsche Mathematiker- Vereinigung within the GdNÄ and in close contact with physics and applied mechanics. In 1893, Cantor resigned from presidency, and in 1897 and again in 1903, Klein was president, while most other presidents from the period were Clebsch-students and/or closely connected to Klein, whose policies stamped the DMV for decades.


01A74 History of mathematics at institutions and academies (non-university)