Winfried Scharlau (mathematician)

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Winfried Scharlau in 2006.

Winfried Scharlau (born August 12, 1940 in Berlin ) is a German mathematician.


Scharlau received his doctorate in 1967 under Friedrich Hirzebruch at the University of Bonn ("Quadratic forms and Galois cohomology"). In 1969/70 he was at the Institute for Advanced Study . From 1970 he was a professor at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster (most recently director), where he has now retired.

Scharlau dealt with number theory and in particular the theory of quadratic forms, about which he wrote a monograph in Springer's basic teaching series.

Scharlau is also a hobby ornithologist and author of two novels, I megali istoria - the great story (2nd edition 2001), which is set on Naxos , and Scharife (2001). He also dealt with the history of mathematics , wrote a historically oriented introduction to number theory with Hans Opolka (which, among other things, deals with Dirichlet's analytical class number formula and the geometry of numbers in the 19th century) and wrote a multi-part biography of Alexander Grothendieck (Volume 2 not yet published).

He is a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen . From 1991 to 1992 he was President of the German Mathematicians Association . In 1974 he was invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Vancouver (On subspaces of inner product spaces).

Scharlau is the father of the cognitive psychologist Ingrid Scharlau .


  • with Friedrich Hirzebruch: Introduction to Functional Analysis , BI, Mannheim 1971, ISBN 978-3-411-00296-2 , Hirzebruch Collection (PDF)
  • with Hans Opolka: From Fermat to Minkowski. A lecture on number theory and its development . Springer, Berlin 1980
  • Richard Dedekind 1831/1981 . Vieweg, Braunschweig [a. a.] 1981
  • Quadratic and Hermitean Forms . Basics of mathematical Sciences. Springer, Berlin [a. a.] 1985
  • Mathematical institutes in Germany 1800–1945 . Documents on the history of mathematics. Vieweg, Braunschweig [a. a.] 1990
  • School knowledge of mathematics. An overview . Vieweg, Braunschweig [a. a.] 1994
  • Contributions to the bird life of the southern Aegean . Publishing house C. Lienau, 1999
  • Mathematics for natural scientists . LIT Verlag , Münster 2005
  • Who is Alexander Grothendieck? Anarchy, math, spirituality, loneliness . 3. Edition. Part 1. Anarchy . Books on Demand , Norderstedt 2011, ISBN 978-3-8423-7147-7 .
  • Who is Alexander Grothendieck? Anarchy, math, spirituality, loneliness . Part 3. Spirituality. Books on Demand , Norderstedt 2010, ISBN 978-3-8391-4939-3 .
  • Lucky to be a mathematician. Friedrich Hirzebruch and his time . Springer Spectrum, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-658-14756-3 .

Web links

References and comments

  1. Quadratic forms and Galois cohomology . In: Inventiones Mathematicae , Volume 4, 1967, pp. 238-264, online
  2. Hans Opolka (* 1949), did his doctorate in 1976 at the University of Münster under Falko Lorenz , professor at the TU Braunschweig, algebra and number theory