Birkhoff, George David
- Loren Butler Feffer
Birkhoff, George David (21 March 1884–12 November 1944), mathematician, was born in Overisel, Michigan, the son of David Birkhoff, a physician, and Jane Gertrude Droppers. During much of his youth, George lived with his family in Chicago, where he studied at the Lewis Institute from 1896 to 1902 and attended the University of Chicago for one year. He then went to Harvard University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1905 and a master’s degree in 1906. Birkhoff’s mathematical interest and skill were revealed at a young age when in 1901 he began a correspondence with mathematician Harry S. Vandiver on a problem in number theory that resulted in the publication in 1904 of a joint paper in the ...