Kurt Vogel (mathematician)

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Kurt Vogel (born September 30, 1888 in Altdorf near Nuremberg ; † October 27, 1985 in Munich ) was a German mathematician.

life and work

Vogel attended high school in Ansbach and studied mathematics and physics in Erlangen (with Max Noether , Paul Gordan , Erhard Schmidt ) and Göttingen (with Felix Klein , David Hilbert , Otto Toeplitz ) from 1907 to 1911 . In 1911 he passed his teaching degree. After serving as an officer from 1913 to 1920, he taught at the Ludwig Realschule in Munich. From 1927 to 1954 he was a teacher (high school professor) at the Maximiliansgymnasium in Munich , where the later politician Franz Josef Strauss was one of his students . In addition, after his habilitation in 1933 ( contributions to the history of Greek logistics ), he was a private lecturer from 1936 and an adjunct professor at the University of Munich from 1940 , where he founded the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 1963 (after having previously had a separate department at the Mathematical Institute ) and directed. Although he officially retired in 1963, he worked at the University of Munich until 1970.

Vogel dealt with mathematical texts (arithmetic books) from Byzantium, the Papyrus Rhind (on which he received his doctorate from Heinrich Wieleitner at the University of Munich in 1929 - the basics of Egyptian arithmetic in its connection with the 2: n table in the Papyrus Rhind ), Greek and Babylonian mathematics . While still in Göttingen he learned Egyptian hieroglyphs in self-study, which he continued at the University of Munich in 1927 with Wilhelm Spiegelberg . But he was also a pioneer in researching Babylonian mathematics (about which he corresponded with Otto Neugebauer ) and dealt with German arithmetic books of the 15th and 16th centuries, some of them from the Bavarian State Library. He edited z. B. the Bamberg arithmetic book of 1485 and the algorism Ratisbonensis (around 1450). In 1963 he published a translation of Al-Khwarizmi's algorism (the earliest Islamic arithmetic book with decimal digits). He later learned Chinese and published a translation of the Nine Books of Arithmetic Technique Jiu Zhang Suanshu (1968), one of the Ten Mathematical Classics in China.

Vogel worked with Helmuth Gericke and Karin Reich on the new edition of the history of elementary mathematics by Johannes Tropfke (from 1980), after he had already supported Tropfke with its third edition in the 1930s.

From 1957 he was a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina and from 1931 of the Academie Internationale d´Histoire des Sciences in Paris, of which he was vice-president from 1977 to 1981. In 1969 Vogel was awarded the George Sarton Medal , the highly prestigious prize for the history of science from the History of Science Society (HSS) founded by George Sarton and Lawrence Joseph Henderson .


  • The basics of Egyptian arithmetic. Munich 1929 (dissertation).
  • Contributions to Greek logistics. Meeting area the Bavarian. Akad. D. Wiss., Math.-Naturw. Abt. 1936, pp. 357-472.
  • Pre-Greek mathematics. 2 volumes (= mathematical study books ). Schroedel, Hanover; Schöningh, Paderborn 1959.
  • The Trient Algorism of 1475. In: Nova Acta Leopoldina , New Series, Volume 27, 1963, pp. 183-200.
  • Looking back on 40 years of research in the history of mathematics. In: Bernhard Sticker, Friedrich Klemm (Ed.): Paths to the history of science. Wiesbaden 1969.


Individual evidence

  1. Ivo Schneider, Stations and Companions on My Path through Life , in: Rudolf Seising, Menso Folkerts, Form, Number, Order: Studies on the History of Science and Technology. Festschrift for Ivo Schneider on his 65th birthday , 2004, p. 33 in the Google book search


  • Joseph W. Dauben , Christoph J. Scriba (Ed.): Writing the history of mathematics. Its historical development . Birkhäuser, Basel et al. 2002, ISBN 3-7643-6167-0 , ( Science networks 27).
  • Menso Folkerts : Kurt Vogel: Biography and Bibliography . In: Historia Mathematica 10, 1983, ISSN  0315-0860 , pp. 261-273, (with bibliography), Vol. 13, 1986, p. 98.
  • Siegfried Gottwald , Hans-Joachim Illgauds, Karl-Heinz Schlote (Hrsg.): Lexicon of important mathematicians . Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1990, ISBN 3-323-00319-5 .
  • Ivo Schneider . A life dedicated to the history of science: Kurt Vogel . In: Contributions to the history of arithmetic. By Kurt Vogel. On the 90th birthday of the author on September 30, 1978 with a biography and list of writings . Published by the Research Institute of the Deutsches Museum for the History of Natural Sciences and Technology. Minerva Publication, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-597-10036-8 , ( History of Science ), pp. 7–18 plus 4 pages with photos.

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