Karl Löwner and his student Lipman Bers. Pre-war Prague mathematicians.

*(English)*Zbl 1320.01001
Heritage of European Mathematics. Zürich: European Mathematical Society (EMS) (ISBN 978-3-03719-144-6/hbk). ix, 300 p. (2015).

The book depicts two major figures of XXth-century mathematics, Charles Loewner (1893–1968) and his student Lipman Bers (1914–1993), concentrating on their lives up to their escape from Europe. Loewner was born in Central Bohemia. He was connected with the German University in Prague (which existed till 1945), where he got his Ph.D. in 1917 and worked as a Professor of Mathematics in 1934–1939. Bers was born in Latvia but completed his studies at the German University in Prague in 1934–1937, receiving there his Ph.D. from Loewner in 1938. Both were of Jewish descent. Living in a German environment, both could fell victims of the Nazi anti-Semitism. However, they emigrated in time to the United States, where each of them successfully continued his academic career.

The book describes in depth great Prague achievements of Loewner in mathematical analysis (particularly), in geometric function theory and some particulars of his academic life there (only the bibliography covers his whole life span). It also offers Bers’ dissertation on potential theory (the authors’ discovery, the dissertation was considered to be lost). Moreover, it provides some insights into Loewner-Bers life-long friendship. Well documented, the book is a valuable contribution to the history of European mathematics. Cut short, however, at the outbreak of World War II, it is not a full biography of the two and thus it asks for a continuation to the decades spent by them in the States. {Remark: The description of the chapters in the preface is not consistent with their enumeration.}

The book describes in depth great Prague achievements of Loewner in mathematical analysis (particularly), in geometric function theory and some particulars of his academic life there (only the bibliography covers his whole life span). It also offers Bers’ dissertation on potential theory (the authors’ discovery, the dissertation was considered to be lost). Moreover, it provides some insights into Loewner-Bers life-long friendship. Well documented, the book is a valuable contribution to the history of European mathematics. Cut short, however, at the outbreak of World War II, it is not a full biography of the two and thus it asks for a continuation to the decades spent by them in the States. {Remark: The description of the chapters in the preface is not consistent with their enumeration.}

Reviewer: Roman Duda (Wrocław)

##### MSC:

01-02 | Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to history and biography |

01A70 | Biographies, obituaries, personalia, bibliographies |

01A72 | Schools of mathematics |

01A60 | History of mathematics in the 20th century |

30-03 | History of functions of a complex variable |

31-03 | History of potential theory |