Ein Mathematikstudium in den Fünfzigerjahren

  • Christian Blatter

    ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Ein Mathematikstudium in den Fünfzigerjahren cover

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The author, born 1935, spent his youth and student years in Basel (Switzerland). His tale begins when he enters the “Humanistisches Gymnasium” there; it ends with the legendary Colloquium on Differential Geometry and Topology, held 1960 in Zurich on the occasion of the 50-th anniversary of the Swiss Mathematical Society, where our hero for the first time meets the international mathematical scene. In between we make the acquaintance with the relevant mathematical figures (and some other scientists) in Basel at the time, we hear about the author’s struggling with various minors (philosophy, physics, chemistry), about his part time job as proofreader for a local newspaper, about his year as famulus of the great Ostrowski, and about more leisure-oriented student activities. All this converges to serious mathematical work on a theme between complex analysis and differential geometry (a hint of which is explained in the text at hand). The lively account of the author shows that then and there studying meant working in very diverse environments, as it does today, but all in all had an essential quality of liberty – Bologna was still forty years ahead.