Professor Hans Schwerdtfeger (1902-1990)
Hans Schwerdtfeger was born and raised in Göttingen, Germany, and studied at its university when it was the centre of the mathematical universe. He was taught by some of the greatest mathematicians and physicists of the time, including Hilbert, Herglotz, Courant, Franck, Born, and van der Waerden. Hausdorff and Toeplitz were also his teachers in Bonn, where he received his Ph.D. in 1934.
Having been an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, he fled Germany in 1936 to Prague and in 1939 moved through Zurich, Grenoble and Toulon to Sydney, Australia. He was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the Universities of Adelaide and Melbourne from 1940 till 1957 and then Associate Professor at McGill University in Montreal from 1960 till his retirement in 1983. He spent his retirement years as Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide.
He was an inspiring teacher and a world class mathematician who wrote 58 papers and 5 books. His main fields of interest were Galois Theory, matrix theory, theory of groups and their geometries and complex analysis. He achieved important results in all these fields and had a prominent role in revitalizing mathematics in Australia.
[Adapted from Hans Schwerdtfeger’s Obituary by János Aczél published in Aequationes Mathematicae
v. 53 (1997)]
Typescript notes of lectures attended by Hans Schwerdtfeger as a student at Göttingen University 1926-34. 34 v.
[Lectures by H. Bohr 1928/29, 1929; R. Courant 1927, 1928; K. Grandjot 1927, 1928; H. Hasse 1932/33; F. Hausdorff 1933, 1934; G. Herglotz 1927-33; O. Hölder 1926/27; D. Hilbert 1929/30; E. Landau 1929; H. Schmidt 1926, 1926/27; B.L. van der Waerden 1928, 1929]
Notes of lectures given by Professor Schwerdtfeger at the University of Adelaide, Melbourne University and McGill University 1940-72 [Adelaide 1940-47; Melbourne 1948-57; McGill 1958-71/72] .8m.
Samples of mathematical exercises given at Göttingen by Professor Schwerdtfeger 1928-29, 1943, 1945, 1950-51, 1953, 1962 and undated. 3cm.
Correspondence with Professor R.B. Guenther, Oregon State University re joint publication of Herglotz’s Vorlesungen über die Mechanik der Kontinua, and draft chapters 1984-88. 20cm.
Correspondence with mathematical colleagues and learned societies on mathematical problems c. 1948-90 [in folders variously under the name of an individual or institution or organised by the problem under discussion] 20cm.
Correspondence with Zentralblatt regarding contributions reviewed by Professor Schwerdtfeger 1951-84. 2v. 15cm.
Correspondence with Mathematical Review regarding contributions reviewed by Professor Schwerdtfeger 1955-87. 1v. 1cm.
List of reviews in Zentralblatt and Mathematical Review [provides an index to the volumes of correspondence in Series 6 and 7] 1cm.
Manuscript and typescript copies of lectures given [as Visiting Lecturer etc.] 1948 (Melbourne Mathematical Society), 1958/59 (Montreal), 1965 (Adelaide), 1967 (London, Ontario). 4cm.
Offprints/reprints/photocopies and typescripts/manuscripts of papers by Professor Schwerdtfeger 1936-83. 15 cm.
Notes, draft papers, solutions, notes on/extracts from lectures and texts by others c. 1938- 30cm.
D. Denholm September 1990
Revised Cheryl Hoskin 2009