Agnes Scott College
Larry Riddle, Agnes Scott College


Waclaw Sierpinski (1882-1969)

Sierpinski
(Picture from 1910)

Waclaw Sierpinski was born on March 14, 1882, in Warsaw, Poland. His abilities in mathematics were evident from childhood. In 1900 he entered the University of Warsaw, graduating four years later after having been awarded a gold medal for mathematics.

From 1908 to 1914 Sierpinski lectured at the University of Lvov, followed by three years at the University of Moscow. After the end of World War I he returned to the University of Warsaw and spent the rest of his career there. By all accounts he was an excellent and simulating teacher. He received hononary doctorates from ten universities, was elected vice-president of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and was awarded the scientific prize of the first degree in 1949. Sierpinski died in Warsaw on May 14, 1969.

Sierpinski's most important mathematical work was in the areas of set theory, point set topology, and number theory. He published over 700 papers and 50 books. The Canadian mathematician Cecilia Krieger translated his textbooks Introduction to General Topology (1934) and General Topology (1952) into English.

 

References

  1. Dictionary of Scientific Biography
  2. http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk:80/~history/Mathematicians/Sierpinksi.html (MacTutor History of Mathematics)
  3. Obituary from Acta Arithmetica (1972)