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Jewish Mathematicians and Academic Culture in German-Speaking Countries

18 10 2009
Touring exhibition comes to the Universität Heidelberg – Lecture on Richard Courant

The achievements and the fates of Jewish mathematicians working at universities in German-speaking countries are the subject of a touring exhibition stopping over at Heidelberg University from 20 October to 4 November 2009. It provides an overview of the life and work of a number of these mathematicians from the late 19th century to the Nazi era. The exhibition is on show in the entrance hall of the BioQuant building (Im Neuenheimer Feld 267).

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, and the local organiser Prof. Dr. Willi Jäger, director of the Mathematics Center Heidelberg (MATCH), will speak at the opening ceremony. Among the guests will be science historian Prof. Dr. Moritz Epple of Frankfurt University, who has masterminded the exhibition in conjunction with other colleagues. It outlines the activities of Jewish mathematicians in Germany at various different stages, indicating the increasingly influential role they played in the Kaiserreich (1871-1918) and the Weimar Republic. The exhibition also commemorates the post-1933 period of emigration, exile and witch-hunts.

Two exhibits from Heidelberg supplement the touring exhibition, one being the commemorative plaque for mathematician Prof. Dr. Leo Koenigsberger (1837-1921), a leading scholar of his time. The bronze plaque features a portrait of Koenigsberger by the Karlsruhe artist Hermann Volz. Originally it was on display in the former reading room of the Institute of Mathematics but was removed in 1936 on political grounds. In 2004 the plaque was rediscovered in the Heidelberg University Archives and now graces the Seifert Room of the Institute.

The second Heidelberg exhibit is Adelheid Furtwängler’s oil painting of Prof. Dr. Heinrich Liebmann (1874-1939) presented by his son Prof. Dr. Karl-Otto Liebmann (USA) to the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Sciences during a commemorative colloquium in June 2008. Heinrich Liebmann was Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Rector of Heidelberg University from October 1925 to late September 1926. Liebmann left the University in 1935 after harassment on account of his Jewish descent.

The exhibition “Jewish Mathematicians and Academic Culture in German-Speaking Countries” opened in 2006 with funding from the German Telekom Foundation and in collaboration with the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt. It has now been reconceived as a touring exhibition. Opening times are 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Admission free.

In a lecture on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 Professor Jäger will talk on the subject of “Richard Courant – Mathematics in the Göttingen Tradition”. The lecture will be held in the BioQuant building (Im Neuenheimer Feld 267, Room 041) and begins at 4 p.m.

For more information go to and

Note for journalists
The opening ceremony will take place on 20 October 2009 in the BioQuant building (Im Neuenheimer Feld 267, Room 041), beginning at 4.30 p.m.

Dorothea Heukäufer
MAThematics Center Heidelberg (MATCH)
phone: +49 6221 545617

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