Gosta Mittag-Leffler

Gosta Mittag-Leffler

Swedish mathematician
Date of Birth: 16.03.1846
Country: Sweden

  1. Biography of Gösta Mittag-Leffler
  2. Gösta Mittag-Leffler passed away on July 7, 1927.

Biography of Gösta Mittag-Leffler

Gösta Mittag-Leffler, a Swedish mathematician, was born in Stockholm in 1846. He was the son of John Olof Leffler, the director of a school, and Gustava Wilhelmina Mittag. Later, Mittag-Leffler added his mother's maiden name to his own. His sister, Anne Charlotte Leffler, became a renowned Swedish writer.

Mittag-Leffler studied at Uppsala University, where he completed his education in 1865. He later obtained his doctoral degree in mathematics in 1872 and began working as an adjunct professor at the university. Seeking to further his studies and work in cities where mathematics was developing rapidly, Mittag-Leffler spent time in Paris, Göttingen, and Berlin. During this period, he was mentored by the famous German mathematician Karl Weierstrass, who recognized his unique talent.

Continuing his scientific research, Mittag-Leffler became a professor of mathematics at the University of Helsinki from 1877 to 1881. He then transitioned to the position of leading professor of mathematics at the University College of Stockholm, which later became Stockholm University. He served as the president of the college in 1891-1892 and left the university in 1911.

Mittag-Leffler's major scientific contributions were in the field of the theory of analytic functions. He made several significant mathematical discoveries, including the Mittag-Leffler theorem, Mittag-Leffler star, and the Mittag-Leffler function, which are named after him.

Later in life, Mittag-Leffler became a successful businessman but lost his fortune in the European economic crisis of 1922. He was recognized for his achievements and became a member of various prestigious scientific societies, including the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, the Royal Swedish Society of Sciences in Uppsala, and the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund. He also held honorary doctorates from the University of Oxford and several other major universities.

Mittag-Leffler was a strong advocate for women's rights and played a crucial role in the career of Sofia Kovalevskaya, helping her become a professor of mathematics in Stockholm. With his support, Kovalevskaya became the first woman in the world to hold such a position traditionally held by men. Mittag-Leffler is also known as the founder of the mathematical journal "Acta Mathematica," which started publishing in 1882 and was sponsored by King Oscar. He edited the journal until his death, and most of his works were published in it.

Mittag-Leffler's villa in the suburbs of Stockholm became the Mittag-Leffler Institute after his collection of a remarkable mathematical library was donated to the Swedish Academy of Sciences. There is a legend that Mittag-Leffler was the reason why the Nobel Prize is not awarded in the field of mathematics. According to one version, Mittag-Leffler had an affair with Alfred Nobel's wife, leading to Nobel's decision to exclude mathematics from the prize. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, and it remains a popular anecdote.

Gösta Mittag-Leffler passed away on July 7, 1927.