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Abraham Halevi (Adolf) Fraenkel (Hebrew: אברהם הלוי (אדולף) פרנקל‎; February 17, 1891 Munich, Germany – October 15, 1965 Jerusalem, Israel), known as Abraham Fraenkel, was an Israeli mathematician born in Germany. He was an early Zionist and the first Dean of Mathematics as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is known for his contributions to axiomatic set theory, especially his addition to Ernst Zermelo's axioms which resulted in Zermelo–Fraenkel axioms.


Fraenkel studied mathematics at the University of Munich, University of Berlin, University of Marburg and University of Breslau; after graduating, he lectured at the University of Marburg from 1916, and was promoted to professor in 1922.

After leaving Marburg in 1928, Fraenkel taught at the University of Kiel for a year. He then made the fateful choice of accepting a position at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which had been founded four years earlier, where he spent the rest of his career. He became the first Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, and for a while served as Rector of the University.

Fraenkel was a fervent Zionist and as such was a member of Jewish National Council and the Jewish Assembly of Representatives under the British mandate. He also belonged to the Mizrachi religious wing of Zionism, which promoted Jewish religious education and schools, and which advocated giving the Chief Rabbinate authority over marriage and divorce.


Fraenkel's first work was on Kurt Hensel's p-adic numbers and on the theory of rings. He is best known for his work on axiomatic set theory, publishing his first major work on the topic ("Einleitung in die Mengenlehre") in 1919. In 1922 and 1925, he published two papers that sought to improve Zermelo's axiomatic system; the result is the Zermelo–Fraenkel axioms. Fraenkel worked in set theory and foundational mathematics.

Fraenkel also was interested in the history of mathematics, writing in 1920 and 1930 about Gauss' works in algebra, and he published a biography of Georg Cantor. After retiring from the Hebrew University and being succeeded by his former student Abraham Robinson, Fraenkel continued teaching at the Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan (near Tel Aviv).


* In 1956, Fraenkel was awarded the Israel Prize, for exact sciences[1].

Published works

* 1922. "The notion of 'definite' and the independence of the axiom of choice" in Jean van Heijenoort, 1967. From Frege to Godel: A Source Book in Mathematical Logic, 1879-1931. Harvard Univ. Press: 284–289.
* 1960. Jewish mathematics and astronomy.
* 1961. Essays on the foundations of mathematics, dedicated to A. A. Fraenkel on his seventieth anniversary. Y. Bar-Hillel, E. I. J. Poznanski, M. O. Rabin and A. Robinson, eds. Jerusalem, the Hebrew University: Magnes Press. Contains biographical essay on Fraenkel.
* 1966 (1953). Abstract Set Theory. North Holland.
* 1966. Set Theory and Logic. Addison-Wesley.
* 1967. Lebenskreise: Aus den Erinnerungen eines jüdischen Mathematikers. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt.
* 1973 (1958). (with Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, Azriel Levy, and Dirk van Dalen) Foundations of Set Theory. North Holland.

See also

* List of Israel Prize recipients
* Frankel


1. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1956 (in Hebrew)". http://cms.education.gov.il/EducationCMS/Units/PrasIsrael/Tashyag/Tashkab_Tashyag_Rikuz.htm?DictionaryKey=Tashtaz.

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Abraham Fraenkel", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Fraenkel.html .
* Adolf Abraham Fraenkel


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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