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Johanna (Hanna) Neumann (née von Caemmerer) (12 February 1914 – 14 November 1971) was a German-born mathematician who worked on group theory.

Johanna was born in Lankwitz, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Germany. She attended Auguste-Viktoria-Schule and the University of Berlin and completed her studies in 1936 with distinctions in mathematics and physics. She began studying for her Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen in 1937. She moved to England in the following year to marry Bernhard Neumann, who as a Jew had fled the Nazis. They married in December and went on to have five children. Neumann completed her D Phil. in group theory at the Society of Home Students, Oxford in 1944 under Olga Taussky-Todd. Her thesis was entitled 'Sub-group Structure of Free Products of Groups with an Amalgamated Subgroup'. Following her naturalisation as a British citizen, she took a teaching position at the University of Hull in 1946.

From 1958 she took up a lecturing post at the Mathematics Department of Manchester College of Science and Technology (later to become UMIST). The Department had recently started an honours programme in mathematics and were looking for a relatively senior pure mathematician to be responsible for that aspect of the courses. Neumann

..began organizing courses which would show the students something of mathematics as she saw it. She was able to introduce into the first year course, which had till then been entirely problem-oriented, a small strand of one lecture a week of an introduction to mathematics in the style of Feigl-Rohrbach. The later-year algebra courses much more thoroughly reflected her own interests and views. She continued to develop a style of teaching which aimed at making the acquisition of very abstract ideas accessible through judicious use of more concrete examples and well-graded exercises. [1]

The Neumanns moved to Australia in 1963 to take academic positions at the Australian National University. She was made chair of pure mathematics in 1964 and was dean of students between 1968 and 1969. Her most widely known work Varieties of Groups was published in 1967.

She died from a cerebral aneurysm while on a lecture tour in Ottawa. A building at the Australian National University was named in her honour in 1973. Three of her five children became mathematicians including Peter M. Neumann.

References

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Hanna Neumann", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Neumann_Hanna.html .
* Hanna Neumann at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* Kenneth F. Fowler, Neumann, Johanna (Hanna) (1914 - 1971), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, Melbourne University Press, 2000, p. 465.
* Australian Academy of Science. Hanna Neumann 1914-1971

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