Edward Nelson

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Edward Nelson (born May 4, 1932 in Decatur , Georgia , †  September 10, 2014 in Princeton ) was an American mathematician who studied analysis , mathematical physics , probability theory and logic .


Nelson studied at the University of Chicago , where he received his master's degree in 1953 and his doctorate in 1955. From 1956 to 1959 and 1973/74 he was at the Institute for Advanced Study . He then went to Princeton University , where he was Assistant Professor in 1959, Associate Professor in 1962 and Professor in 1964. He stayed at Princeton University until his retirement in 2013.

Nelson's early work dealt with infinitely dimensional representations of groups , mathematical quantum field theory, and stochastic processes in the foundation of quantum mechanics , presented in his book Dynamical theories of Brownian Motion , which also covers physical aspects. He gave up his stochastic mechanics as an interpretation of quantum mechanics in the 1980s.

Nelson was known for his Internal Set Theory , a version of Abraham Robinson's non-standard analysis that complements the axioms of set theory. He also dealt with the reformulation of probability theory in the context of non-standard analysis. His further interests included complexity theory (including the P-NP problem ). The Hadwiger-Nelson problem from graph theory , which Nelson first formulated in 1950, is named after him and Hugo Hadwiger .

He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1975 and of the National Academy of Sciences since 1997 . Nelson was an honorary doctorate from the University of Strasbourg . In 1995 he received the Leroy P. Steele Prize . In 1974 he was invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Vancouver (Markov fields). He was a fellow of the American Mathematical Society . In 1962 he became a Sloan Research Fellow .


  • Dynamical theory of Brownian Motion. Princeton University Press 1967
  • Topics in Dynamics 1: Flows. Princeton University Press 1969
  • Tensor analysis. Princeton University Press 1967
  • Quantum Fluctuations. Princeton University Press, 1985
  • Predicative arithmetic. Princeton University Press, 1986
  • Radically elementary probability theory. Annals of Mathematical Studies, Princeton 1987

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Professor Emeritus Edward Nelson Passed Away September 10th. ( Memento of the original from September 11, 2014 in the web archive archive.today ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. On: math.princeton.edu. Retrieved September 12, 2014.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.math.princeton.edu
  2. ^ Field Theory and the Future of Stochastic Mechanics. In: Albeverio, Casati, Merlini (eds.): Stochastic Processes in Classical and Quantum Systems. Lect. Notes in Phys. 262, p. 438, 1986. Corrections in: Stochastic mechanics and random fields. In: Hennequin (ed.): Ecole d'Ete de Probabilites de Saint-Flour. Lecture Notes in Mathematics Vol. 1362, 1988.
  3. ^ Alexander Soifer: The Mathematical Coloring Book: Mathematics of Coloring and the Colorful Life of its Creators. Springer, New York 2008, ISBN 978-0-387-74640-1 , p. 23.