Stephan Cohn-Vossen

Stephan Cohn-Vossen

in Moscow, probably 1936
Born (1902-05-28)May 28, 1902
Died June 25, 1936(1936-06-25) (aged 34)
Alma mater Wrocław University
Thesis Singuläre Punkte reeller, schlichter Kurvenscharen, deren Differentialgleichung gegeben ist (1924)
Doctoral advisor Adolf Kneser
Known for Cohn-Vossen's inequality

Stefan or Stephan Cohn-Vossen (28 May 1902 – 25 June 1936) was a mathematician, now best known for his collaboration with David Hilbert on the 1932 book Anschauliche Geometrie, translated into English as Geometry and the Imagination.[1] The Cohn-Vossen transformation is also named for him.[2]

He was born in Breslau (then a city in the German Empire; now Wrocław in Poland). He wrote a 1924 doctoral dissertation at the University of Breslau (now the University of Wrocław) under the supervision of Adolf Kneser.[3] He became a professor at the University of Cologne in 1930.

He was barred from lecturing in 1933 under Nazi racial legislation, because he was Jewish.[4] In 1934 he emigrated to the USSR, with some help from Herman Müntz.[5] While there, he taught at Leningrad University. He died in Moscow from pneumonia.[6]

See also


  1. Hilbert, David; Cohn-Vossen, Stephan (1952). Geometry and the Imagination (2nd ed.). Chelsea. ISBN 0-8284-1087-9.
  2. Voitsekhovskii, M.I. (2001), "Cohn-Vossen transformation", in Hazewinkel, Michiel, Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer, ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4
  3. Stephan Cohn-Vossen at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. Siegmund-Schultze, Reinhard (2009), Mathematicians Fleeing from Nazi Germany: Individual Fates and Global Impact, Princeton University Press, pp. 132, 133, 346, 370, 373, 399, ISBN 9780691140414.
  5. Siegmund-Schultze 2009 (p.133) quotes from a 1937 letter by Müntz: "The appointments of Cohn-Vossen, Walfisz, Pollaczek (the latter was not allowed to slip in again) were immediately influenced by myself, the ones for Plessner and Bergmann indirectly."
  6. Cohn-Vossen's Obituary (in Russian)

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