On the letters to Felix Klein, David Hilbert and Karl Schwarzschild sent to Göttingen by Polish scientists. Introduction to the research

19.12.2023 | 19.12.2023

Dr hab. Danuta Ciesielska, Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences

In the period 1885–1933 more than 100 young Poles studied mathematics, physics and astronomy in Göttingen, five of them obtained PhD in pure or applied mathematics – two supervised by Hilbert, four in physics, three in physical chemistry. More than 60 Poles studied with Klein, most of them in Göttingen, more than 40 Poles studied with Hilbert and more than dozen with Schwarzschild including his future assistant and collaborator Władysław Dziewulski. It is clear that in those days Poles were trying to become a part of international society of scientists. Can we judge an impact of Göttingen professors on young Poles? To find an answer to those question I looked through the inventor of the correspondence deposit in the Nachlassverzeichnisse. The result of my research is not impressive in numbers but is in my opinion interesting and presents new information. During the talk I will sketch a general characteristic of the university archive in Göttingen [SUB].  I will present basic statistical information about Poles who studied with Klein, Hilbert or Schwarzschild and about the letter sent by Poles to them. I will try to compare results of my research with those done by Czech and Italian historians of mathematics in the last years. In SUB are deposited letters from physicists and astronomers: Marian Smoluchowski, Władysław Dziewulski, Maurycy Pius Rudzki, Tadeusz Banachiewicz, Wojciech Rubinowicz, and mathematicians: Kazimierz Żorawski, Leon Lichtenstein, Stanisław Zaremba, Bolesław Młodziejowski and Alfred Rosenblatt. Just few of them were recently published in W świątyni nauki, mekce matematyków (Warszawa 2021) and catch the attentions. In the talk I will present some unpublished letters.

The paper is due to collaboration with Maria Teresa Borgato and Christine Phili, who    organized and chaired symposium International Scientific Collaboration and the Emergence of National Communities between the 19th and Early 20th Centuries, 2nd Conference of the International Academy of the History of Science Athens, Greece, 12–15 September 2023.

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