# .

# Bernhard Riemann

Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (German pronunciation: [ˈʁiːman]; September 17, 1826 – July 20, 1866) was an influential German mathematician who made lasting contributions to analysis and differential geometry, some of them enabling the later development of general relativity.

Biography

Early years

Riemann was born in Breselenz, a village near Dannenberg in the Kingdom of Hanover in what is the Federal Republic of Germany today. His father, Friedrich Bernhard Riemann, was a poor Lutheran pastor in Breselenz who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. His mother, Charlotte Ebell, died before her children had reached adulthood. Riemann was the second of six children, shy, and suffered from numerous nervous breakdowns. Riemann exhibited exceptional mathematical skills, such as fantastic calculation abilities, from an early age but suffered from timidity and a fear of speaking in public.

Education

During 1840, Riemann went to Hanover to live with his grandmother and attend lyceum (middle school). After the death of his grandmother in 1842, he attended high school at the Johanneum Lüneburg. In high school, Riemann studied the Bible intensively, but he was often distracted by mathematics. To this end, he even tried to prove mathematically the correctness of the Book of Genesis. His teachers were amazed by his adept ability to solve complicated mathematical operations, in which he often outstripped his instructor's knowledge. In 1846, at the age of 19, he started studying philology and theology in order to become a priest and help with his family's finances.

During the spring of 1846, his father (Friedrich Riemann), after gathering enough money to send Riemann to university, allowed him to stop studying theology and start studying mathematics. He was sent to the renowned University of Göttingen, where he first met Carl Friedrich Gauss, and attended his lectures on the method of least squares.

In 1847, Riemann moved to Berlin, where Jacobi, Dirichlet, Steiner, and Eisenstein were teaching. He stayed in Berlin for two years and returned to Göttingen in 1849.

Academia

Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866)

Bernhard Riemann held his first lectures in 1854, which founded the field of Riemannian geometry and thereby set the stage for Einstein's general theory of relativity. In 1857, there was an attempt to promote Riemann to extraordinary professor status at the University of Göttingen. Although this attempt failed, it did result in Riemann finally being granted a regular salary. In 1859, following Dirichlet's death, he was promoted to head the mathematics department at Göttingen. He was also the first to suggest using dimensions higher than merely three or four in order to describe physical reality[citation needed]—an idea that was ultimately vindicated with Einstein's contribution in the early 20th century. In 1862 he married Elise Koch and had a daughter.

Austro-Prussian War

Riemann fled Göttingen when the armies of Hanover and Prussia clashed there in 1866.[1] He died of tuberculosis during his third journey to Italy in Selasca (now a hamlet of Verbania on Lake Maggiore) where he was buried in the cemetery in Biganzolo (Verbania). Meanwhile, in Göttingen his housekeeper tidied up some of the mess in his office, including much unpublished work. Riemann refused to publish incomplete work and some deep insights may have been lost forever.[1]

Influence

Riemann's published works opened up research areas combining analysis with geometry. These would subsequently become major parts of the theories of Riemannian geometry, algebraic geometry, and complex manifold theory. The theory of Riemann surfaces was elaborated by Felix Klein and particularly Adolf Hurwitz. This area of mathematics is part of the foundation of topology, and is still being applied in novel ways to mathematical physics.

Riemann made major contributions to real analysis. He defined the Riemann integral by means of Riemann sums, developed a theory of trigonometric series that are not Fourier series—a first step in generalized function theory—and studied the Riemann–Liouville differintegral.

He made some famous contributions to modern analytic number theory. In a single short paper (the only one he published on the subject of number theory), he introduced the Riemann zeta function and established its importance for understanding the distribution of prime numbers. He made a series of conjectures about properties of the zeta function, one of which is the well-known Riemann hypothesis.

He applied the Dirichlet principle from variational calculus to great effect; this was later seen to be a powerful heuristic rather than a rigorous method. Its justification took at least a generation. His work on monodromy and the hypergeometric function in the complex domain made a great impression, and established a basic way of working with functions by consideration only of their singularities.

Euclidean geometry versus Riemannian geometry

In 1853, Gauss asked his student Riemann to prepare a Habilitationsschrift on the foundations of geometry. Over many months, Riemann developed his theory of higher dimensions. When he finally delivered his lecture at Göttingen in 1854, the mathematical public received it with enthusiasm, and it is one of the most important works in geometry. It was titled Über die Hypothesen welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen (loosely: "On the foundations of geometry"; more precisely, "On the hypotheses which underlie geometry"), and was published in 1868.

The subject founded by this work is Riemannian geometry. Riemann found the correct way to extend into n dimensions the differential geometry of surfaces, which Gauss himself proved in his theorema egregium. The fundamental object is called the Riemann curvature tensor. For the surface case, this can be reduced to a number (scalar), positive, negative or zero; the non-zero and constant cases being models of the known non-Euclidean geometries.

Higher dimensions

Riemann's idea was to introduce a collection of numbers at every point in space (i.e., a tensor) which would describe how much it was bent or curved. Riemann found that in four spatial dimensions, one needs a collection of ten numbers at each point to describe the properties of a manifold, no matter how distorted it is. This is the famous construction central to his geometry, known now as a Riemannian metric.

Writings in English

* 1868.“On the hypotheses which lie at the foundation of geometry” in Ewald, William B., ed., 1996. “From Kant to Hilbert: A Source Book in the Foundations of Mathematics” , 2 vols. Oxford Uni. Press: 652–61.

* Riemann, Bernhard (2004) (in English), Collected papers, Kendrick Press, Heber City, UT, MR2121437, ISBN 978-0-9740427-2-5

See also

* List of topics named after Bernhard Riemann

* Riemann's 1859 paper introducing the complex zeta function

Notes

1. ^ a b Marcus du Sautoy, The Music of the Primes, (HarperCollins 2003)

Further reading

* Derbyshire, John (2003), Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, Washington, DC: John Henry Press, ISBN 0309085497 .

External links

* Bernhard Riemann at the Mathematics Genealogy Project

* The Mathematical Papers of Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann

* All publications of Riemann can be found at: http://www.emis.de/classics/Riemann/

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

* Bernhard Riemann – one of the most important mathematicians

* Bernhard Riemann's inaugural lecture

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/"

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License