Ernst Gabor Straus

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ernst Gabor Straus (born February 25, 1922 in Munich ; † July 12, 1983 in Los Angeles ) was a German-American mathematician who dealt with combinatorics ( extremal graph theory , Euclidean Ramsey theory ), theoretical physics and analysis. He published, among others, together with Albert Einstein and Paul Erdős (so he has the Erdős number 1).


Straus was born the youngest of five children of the lawyer Elias Straus and the doctor and women's rights activist Rahel Straus (née Goitein ) and became familiar with mathematics at an early age. After the early death of his father, the family fled the Nazis to Palestine in 1933 . There Straus was trained at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem . Without a pre-graduate degree, he began his studies at Columbia University in New York in 1941 , where he made his master's degree in 1942 and then continued to work under F. J. Murray as a doctoral student. From 1944 to 1948 he was Albert Einstein's assistant at the Institute for Advanced Study , with whom he worked on a unified field theory that became the subject of his doctoral thesis. As a result, he became an instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles , which he remained until his death from heart failure.

His topics and interests changed over the course of his career. Starting with work on the theory of relativity , he began to specialize in analytical number theory , graph theory and combinatorics. The Erdős-Straus conjecture about stem fractions of the form 4 / n has become known in popular mathematics . With Erdös, whom he had known since his time at Princeton, he published 21 works. He has also published with Richard Bellman , Béla Bollobás , Sarvadaman Chowla , Ronald Graham , László Lovász , Paul Kelly , Carl Pomerance , George Szekeres and Olga Taussky-Todd, among others .

Ernst Gabor Straus was co-editor from 1951 to 1964 and editor of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics from 1954 to 1959.

He had been married since 1944 and had two sons.


  • David Cantor, Basil Gordon, Alfred Hales, Murray Schacher (1985). Biography - Ernst G. Straus 1922–1983. In: Pacific Journal of Mathematics 118 (2): i – xx (special edition in memory of Ernst G. Straus). (en)
  • Straus, Memories of Einstein in Woolf (Editor) Some strangeness in proportion , Addison-Wesley 1979
  • Pais Subtle is the lord , Oxford University Press 1982, p. 496 (short biography)

Web links