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The Princeton Companion to Mathematics by Imre Leader, June Barrow-Green, Timothy Gowers

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VI.78 George Birkhoff

b. Oversiel, Michigan, 1884; d. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1944 Difference equations; differential equations; dynamical systems; ergodic theory; relativity theory

At the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1924 the Russian mathematician A. N. Krylov described Birkhoff as “the POINCARÉ [VI.61] of America.” It was an apt description and one that Birkhoff would have relished, for he was deeply influenced by Poincaré’s work, in particular his great treatise on celestial mechanics.

Birkhoff studied first at Chicago under E. H. Moore and Oskar Bolza, and then at Harvard under W. F. Osgood and Maxime Bôcher. Returning to Chicago, he was awarded his doctorate in 1907 for a thesis on asymptotic expansions, boundary-value ...

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