Heinrich Behnke

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Heinrich Behnke (born October 9, 1898 in Hamburg , † October 10, 1979 in Münster ) was a German mathematician at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster.

Behnke was internationally known for his research in complex analysis ("Münster School of Complex Analysis"), that is, the function theory of several variables .


He studied mathematics at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen , where he heard lectures from David Hilbert , Edmund Georg Hermann Landau and Erich Hecke , among others . He sent his dissertation “On analytical functions and algebraic numbers” to the newly founded University of Hamburg , to which Erich Hecke had previously switched. She was received there in May 1922.

After completing his doctorate at the University of Hamburg, he moved briefly to the University of Heidelberg , where he met his future wife Aenne Albersheim, whom he married in May 1925. Then he went back to the University of Hamburg, where he completed his habilitation in 1924 . His wife died in 1927 giving birth to their only child.

In the same year Behnke received a professorship at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster, where he remained active until his retirement in 1967 and beyond. In 1932 he married Elisabeth Hartmann, who had studied mathematics in Jena, Göttingen and Münster.

In 1934 Behnke and Peter Thullen published the essay "Theory of the Functions of Several Complex Variables". Thullen had to leave Germany as early as 1933 because he was persecuted by the National Socialists . Although Münster had already been destroyed during the war, Behnke continued to give lectures. After the war he was dean of the Philosophical and Natural Sciences Faculty of the University of Münster until 1949. From 1954 to 1958 he was President of the International Mathematical Teaching Commission (IMUK) and in 1964 and 1965 President of the German Mathematicians Association . In addition to his research work, Behnke has always taken care of the cohesion of the university and secondary school.

His students include Karl Stein , Friedrich Hirzebruch , Reinhold Remmert , Hans Grauert , Friedrich Sommer and Uwe Storch . In 1978 Behnke's autobiography "Semester reports - A life at German universities through the ages" was published.

Heinrich Behnke died on October 10, 1979 in Münster. Behnke's academic legacy is kept in the university archive of the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster .




  • Semester reports - A life at German universities through the ages (autobiography), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1978, ISBN 978-3-525-40724-0 .
  • with Peter Thullen : Theory of the Functions of Several Complex Variables , Springer Verlag, Results of Mathematics and their Frontier Areas, 1934, 2nd edition with the assistance of Reinhold Remmert 1970
  • with Friedrich Sommer : Theory of the functions of a complex variable , Springer Verlag, 3rd edition 1965
  • Lecture on differential geometry , Münster, Aschendorff, 7th edition 1966
  • Lecture on ordinary differential equations , Münster, Aschendorff, 4th edition 1963
  • Lectures on algebra , Münster, Aschendorff, 3rd edition 1958
  • Lectures on number theory , Münster, Aschendorff, 5th edition 1961
  • Lecture on classical function theory , Aschendorff
  • Lecture on calculus , Aschendorff
  • Editor with Horst Tietz and others: Fischer Lexikon Mathematik , 2 volumes, first 1964
  • Editor with Hans-Georg Steiner: Mathematical lessons at German universities and schools , Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht 1967
  • Editor with Kuno Fladt , Wilhelm Süss : Fundamentals of Mathematics , 3 volumes, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht 1958 (English translation by MIT Press)
  • Editor with Detlef Laugwitz : Mathematics for first-year students , BI university pocket book
  • Editor with K. Kopfermann: Festschrift for the commemoration of Karl Weierstrass. 1815–1965 , Scientific papers of the Working Group for Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Volume 33, Cologne and Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1966


  • Uta Hartmann: Heinrich Behnke (1898–1979): between mathematics and its didactics , Frankfurt, M. ; Berlin etc.: Peter Lang 2009 (also dissertation at the University of Hamburg 2009) ISBN 978-3-631-58860-4 .
  • Hans Grauert , Reinhold Remmert : In memoriam Heinrich Behnke. In: Mathematical Annals. Volume 255, 1981, p. 1, ( uni-goettingen.de ).
  • Karl Peter Grotemeyer , Arnold Kirsch (Hrsg.): Mathematics at school and university - Heinrich Behnke dedicated to his 65th birthday. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht 1964.
  • Horst Tietz : In the autumn of life. Heinrich Behnke on his 80th birthday. In: Math.Phys. Semester reports. Volume 25, 1978, No. 2, p. 165 (and his obituary in Math. Phys. Semesterberichte 1980, No. 1).
  • Volker Remmert : Unequal partners in mathematics in the Third Reich: Heinrich Behnke and Wilhelm Süss. In: Math.Phys. Semester reports. Volume 49, 2002, p. 11
  • Heinrich Behnke: Farewell to the castle in Oberwolfach . In: German Mathematicians Association (ed.): Annual report of the German Mathematicians Association . tape 75 . Teubner, 1973, ISSN  0012-0456 , p. 51-61 ( uni-goettingen.de - address on June 23, 1972).

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