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Wacław Franciszek Sierpiński (Polish: [ˈvat͡swaf fraɲˈt̠͡ɕiʂɛk ɕɛrˈpʲiɲskʲi] ( listen)) (14 March 1882 – 21 October 1969) was a Polish mathematician. He was known for outstanding contributions to set theory (research on the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis), number theory, theory of functions and topology. He published over 700 papers and 50 books. Three well-known fractals are named after him (the Sierpinski triangle, the Sierpinski carpet
Sierpinski carpet
and the Sierpinski curve), as are Sierpinski numbers and the associated Sierpiński problem.

Contents

1 Educational background 2 Life of Sierpinski 3 Honors received 4 Publications 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Educational background[edit]

Polish Cipher
Cipher
Bureau Biuro Szyfrów

Methods and technology

"ANX" Enigma "double"

Grill Clock Cyclometer

Card catalog Cryptologic bomb

Zygalski sheets Lacida

Locations

Saxon Palace Kabaty Woods

PC Bruno Cadix

Personnel

Chief Gwido Langer Deputy Chief Chief of Radio Intelligence Chief of German Section Maksymilian Ciężki German Section cryptologists

Marian Rejewski Jerzy Różycki

Henryk Zygalski Antoni Palluth

Wiktor Michałowski Chief of Russian Section Jan Graliński Russian Section cryptologist Piotr Smoleński Others Jan Kowalewski Stanisław Leśniewski Stefan Mazurkiewicz Franciszek Pokorny Wacław Sierpiński

v t e

Sierpiński enrolled in the Department of Mathematics
Mathematics
and Physics at the University of Warsaw
Warsaw
in 1899 and graduated four years later. In 1903, while still at the University of Warsaw, the Department of Mathematics
Mathematics
and Physics offered a prize for the best essay from a student on Voronoy's contribution to number theory. Sierpiński was awarded a gold medal for his essay, thus laying the foundation for his first major mathematical contribution. Unwilling for his work to be published in Russian, he withheld it until 1907, when it was published in Samuel Dickstein's mathematical magazine 'Prace Matematyczno-Fizyczne' (Polish: 'The Works of Mathematics
Mathematics
and Physics'). After his graduation in 1904, Sierpiński worked as a school teacher of mathematics and physics in Warsaw. However, when the school closed because of a strike, Sierpiński decided to go to Kraków
Kraków
to pursue a doctorate. At the Jagiellonian University
Jagiellonian University
in Kraków
Kraków
he attended lectures by Stanisław Zaremba on mathematics. He also studied astronomy and philosophy. He received his doctorate and was appointed to the University of Lwów
University of Lwów
in 1908. Life of Sierpinski[edit]

Sierpinski square, a fractal

In 1907 Sierpiński first became interested in set theory when he came across a theorem which stated that points in the plane could be specified with a single coordinate. He wrote to Tadeusz Banachiewicz (then at Göttingen), asking how such a result was possible. He received the one-word reply 'Cantor'. Sierpiński began to study set theory and, in 1909, he gave the first ever lecture course devoted entirely to the subject. Sierpiński maintained an incredible output of research papers and books. During the years 1908 to 1914, when he taught at the University of Lwów, he published three books in addition to many research papers. These books were The Theory of Irrational Numbers (1910), Outline of Set Theory (1912), and The Theory of Numbers (1912).

Grave of Wacław Sierpiński

When World War I
World War I
began in 1914, Sierpiński and his family were in Russia. To avoid the persecution that was common for Polish foreigners, Sierpiński spent the rest of the war years in Moscow working with Nikolai Luzin. Together they began the study of analytic sets. In 1916, Sierpiński gave the first example of an absolutely normal number. When World War I
World War I
ended in 1918, Sierpiński returned to Lwów. However shortly after taking up his appointment again in Lwów
Lwów
he was offered a post at the University of Warsaw, which he accepted. In 1919 he was promoted to a professor. He spent the rest of his life in Warsaw. During the Polish–Soviet War
Polish–Soviet War
(1919–1921), Sierpiński helped break Soviet Russian ciphers for the Polish General Staff's cryptological agency. In 1920, Sierpiński, together with Zygmunt Janiszewski and his former student Stefan Mazurkiewicz, founded the influential mathematical journal Fundamenta Mathematica. Sierpiński edited the journal, which specialized in papers on set theory. During this period, Sierpiński worked predominantly on set theory, but also on point set topology and functions of a real variable. In set theory he made contributions on the axiom of choice and on the continuum hypothesis. He proved that Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory together with the Generalized continuum hypothesis
Generalized continuum hypothesis
imply the Axiom of choice. He also worked on what is now known as the Sierpinski curve. Sierpiński continued to collaborate with Luzin on investigations of analytic and projective sets. His work on functions of a real variable includes results on functional series, differentiability of functions and Baire's classification. Sierpiński retired in 1960 as professor at the University of Warsaw, but continued until 1967 to give a seminar on the Theory of Numbers at the Polish Academy of Sciences. He also continued editorial work as editor-in-chief of Acta Arithmetica, and as an editorial-board member of Rendiconti del Circolo Matematico di Palermo, Composito Matematica, and Zentralblatt für Mathematik. Sierpiński is interred at the Powązki Cemetery
Powązki Cemetery
in Warsaw, Poland. Honors received[edit] Honorary Degrees: Lwów
Lwów
(1929), St. Marks of Lima
St. Marks of Lima
(1930), Amsterdam (1931), Tarta (1931), Sofia (1939), Prague (1947), Wrocław (1947), Lucknow (1949), and Moscow
Moscow
(1967). For high involvement with the development of mathematics in Poland, Sierpiński was honored with election to the Polish Academy of Learning in 1921 and that same year was made dean of the faculty at the University of Warsaw. In 1928, he became vice-chairman of the Warsaw
Warsaw
Scientific Society, and that same year was elected chairman of the Polish Mathematical Society. He was elected to the Geographic Society of Lima (1931), the Royal Scientific Society of Liège (1934), the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1936), the National Academy of Lima (1939), the Royal Society of Sciences of Naples
Naples
(1939), the Accademia dei Lincei
Accademia dei Lincei
of Rome
Rome
(1947), the Germany Academy of Sciences (1950), the United States National Academy of Sciences (1959), the Paris Academy (1960), the Royal Dutch Academy (1961),[1] the Academy of Science of Brussels (1961), the London Mathematical Society
London Mathematical Society
(1964), the Romanian Academy
Romanian Academy
(1965) and the Papal Academy of Sciences (1967). In 1949 Sierpiński was awarded Poland's Scientific Prize, first degree. Publications[edit] Sierpiński authored 724 papers and 50 books (two of which, Introduction to General Topology
Topology
(1934) and General Topology
Topology
(1952) have been translated into English by Canadian mathematician Cecilia Krieger).

W. Sierpiński (1964). Elementary theory of numbers. Monografie Matematyczne. 42. ISBN 0-444-86662-0. 

See also[edit]

Arity theorem List of Poles Menger sponge Seventeen or Bust Sierpiński carpet Sierpiński's constant Sierpiński curve Sierpiński game Sierpiński set Sierpiński space Sierpiński triangle The Sierpiński moon crater

References[edit]

^ "W. Sierpinski (1882 - 1969)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Wacław Sierpiński", MacTutor History of Mathematics
Mathematics
archive, University of St Andrews . Wacław Sierpiński
Wacław Sierpiński
at the Mathematics
Mathematics
Genealogy Project K. Kuratowski. " Wacław Sierpiński
Wacław Sierpiński
(1882-1969)" (PDF). Acta Arithmetica. 21: 1–5.  A. Schinzel. "Wacław Sierpinski's papers on the theory of numbers" (PDF). Acta Arithmetica. 21: 7–13.  "Publications of Wacław Sierpiński
Wacław Sierpiński
in the theory of numbers" (PDF). Acta Arithmetica. 21: 15–23.  Several of Sierpiński's books, Biblioteka Wirtualna Nauki. Sierpiński: Fractals, Code Breaking, and a Crater on the Moon

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 29595075 LCCN: n84802094 ISNI: 0000 0000 8108 3928 GND: 117725420 SELIBR: 238641 SUDOC: 031626254 BNF: cb12280524t (data) BPN: 46325596 MGP: 12545 SN

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