Stefan Mazurkiewicz

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Stefan Mazurkiewicz in 1935

Stefan Mazurkiewicz (born September 25, 1888 in Warsaw , † June 19, 1945 in Grodzisk Mazowiecki ) was a Polish mathematician at the Warsaw School of Mathematicians . His work focused on analysis , topology and probability theory .

He studied mathematics in Krakow, Munich and Göttingen and received his doctorate in 1913 under Wacław Sierpiński on space-filling curves. In 1915 he became a professor at the newly founded Warsaw University after Russian rule in this part of Poland ended in World War I. He stayed at the university, where he was temporarily vice-rector and dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science for nine years.

He initially dealt with general topology. With Zygmunt Janiszewski he had a topology seminar in Warsaw as early as 1917. Before Karl Menger and Pavel Urysohn , he introduced the dimension of compact sets. Several topological theorems by Mazurkiewicz were found independently of Hans Hahn around the same time.

During the Polish-Soviet War (1919–1921) he worked successfully on the deciphering of secret Soviet messages in Biuro Szyfrów , the “cipher office” of the Polish General Staff .

He later turned to probability theory, in which, in 1922, independently of Francesco Cantelli , he proved the strong law of large numbers , developed a system of axioms, and wrote a book on probability theory during the German occupation of Poland. The manuscript burned, but before his death he was able to re-finish parts that were published in 1956. He died in an operation because of a stomach ulcer.

Together with Sierpiński and Janiszewski, he was the founder of the journal Fundamenta Mathematicae and, from 1920, its editor with Sierpinski. In 1922 he became a member of the Polska Akademia Nauk and in 1917 a member of the Polska Akademia Umiejętności . From 1933 to 1935 he was President of the Polish Mathematical Society.

Several theorems can be traced back to him, such as Mazurkiewicz's theorem on flat point sets, Mazurkiewicz's theorem in set- theoretical topology, and Hahn-Mazurkiewicz's theorem on Peano spaces.


  • Basics of probability theory. (Polish: Podstawy rachunku prawdopodobienstwa. ) Mathematical Monographs No. 32, 1956.
  • Travaux des topologie et ses applications. Editor Karol Borsuk . Warsaw 1969.

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