Oswald Teichmüller — life and work. Edited by N. Schappacher and E. Scholz. (Oswald Teichmüller — Leben und Werk. Herausgegeben von N. Schappacher und E. Scholz.) (German) Zbl 0751.01013

Oswald Teichmüller (1913-1943) was one of the most brilliant young German mathematicians during the period of the “Third Reich”. He is the founder of the so-called “Teichmüller theory”, disclosing deep connections between Riemann surfaces and quasiconformal mappings. His work, influential as it was at least since a publication of L. Ahlfors’ in 1953, did not get full recognition until very recently. This is partly due to the fact that many papers of Teichmüller’s were published in the Nazi-journal “Deutsche Mathematik”; it is partly a result of the vague and intuitive formulation of some of Teichmüller’s theorems and conjectures.
After the publication of Teichmüller’s “Collected papers” by L. Ahlfors and F. W. Gehring (1982; Zbl 0545.01013), the authors of this article took a second step, commenting on Teichmüller’s papers with exclusion of those on the theory of value distribution of complex functions. Schappacher discusses Teichmüller’s dissertation in operator theory and his work on function fields, Kneser, Opolka and Schappacher deal with Teichmüller’s strictly algebraic papers, Hauser centres on Teichmüller’s article on the axiom of choice. Herrlich (pp. 21-28) comments on the modul-problem for Riemann surfaces (“Teichmüller- theory”). In the most extensive part (pp. 3-14) of this joint publication, Scholz discusses in his biography Teichmüller’s strong partisanship for the Nazi-policy until his disappearance as a voluntary soldier at the Eastern front. A shocking document is reproduced in the appendix: Teichmüller’s letter dated Nov. 3, 1933, which he wrote in “explanation” of the antisemitic boycott of Edmund Landau’s lectures to the great Göttingen number theorist. It includes sentences as the following: “I do not want to raise difficulties because you are a Jew, it is simply in order to protect the students of the second semester from being instructed in calculus by a racially totally alien teacher”.


01A70 Biographies, obituaries, personalia, bibliographies

Biographic References:

Teichmüller, O.


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