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Episode 2 - In memory of our founding director Professor Eberhard Zeidler (22.03.2021)

We dedicate today's article to an outstanding scientist, warm-hearted human being, leadership mentor, and extraordinary communicator of mathematics - our founding director,
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Eberhard Zeidler.

Eberhard Zeidler was born in Leipzig October 6th, 1940. In 1959, he began studying mathematics at the University of Leipzig, but was expelled from the University for political reasons in 1961. He was allowed to resume his studies only in 1964. After his PhD in 1967 with Herbert Beckert, the head of the Leipzig school of mathematical analysis, he became one of the leading scientists in the field, as for instance testified by his monumental 5 volume treatise on »Nonlinear Functional Analysis and its Applications« that quickly became a classic text in the field. In 1974, he became a full professor. After the collapse of the GDR in 1989, he played a leading role in the reformation and restructuring of the University.

It was due to his high international scientific standing, his proven leadership and his grand vision that the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences was founded in 1996 in Leipzig. He lead the institute during its first years, quickly turning it into an internationally recognized and highly innovative research institute. His own scientific vision was concerned with the deep unity of mathematics and theoretical physics, and this gave him the incredible
energy and enthusiasm for his multi-volume treatise on »Quantum Field Theory« whose subtitle »A Bridge between Mathematicians and Physicists« so nicely expresses his aim. He wanted to build bridges and explore for himself and show to others the deep conceptual unity between pure mathematics and theoretical physics. Also, the several German and English versions of his Handbook of Mathematics have reached a wide and enthusiastic readership. Thus, he was one of the very few scientists of our time who could still oversee and explore mathematics as a whole, and with all its deep connections with and applications in physics, instead of just small and isolated subfields, as is nowadays so common.

In 1994, he was elected a member of the German National Academy Leopoldina. In 2006, he was awarded the »Alfried-Krupp-Wissenschaftspreis«, and in 2014, the first Wissenschaftspreis der Teubner-Stiftung zur Förderung der Mathematischen Wissenschaften«. In 2004, he obtained the Honorary Doctorate of the Vietnam
Academy of Science and Technology in Hanoi.

He was a great scientist, but also a great human being, always concerned for the well being of others, always helping other people, warmhearted and generous, and with a profound sense of humor. Our institute owes him its existence, its vision, its structure, and its success. We shall always remain grateful to him for what he has taught us as a scientist and as a human being. (Prof. Jürgen Jost)

Read more about the life and work of Eberhard Zeidler in an obituary by Prof. Jürgen Jost:
Jost, Jürgen: Eberhard Zeidler 1940-2016
Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung, 120 (2018) 3, p. 221-228
DOI: 10.1365/s13291-017-0175-4

Watch a short slideshow in memory of our founding director Professor Eberhard Zeidler (more resolutions and download).

We have displayed this exhibition in our library in honor of Prof. Zeidler.

A small selection of his books

Quantum Field Theory - A Bridge between Mathematicians and Physicists
Quantum Field Theory builds a bridge between mathematicians and physicists, based on challenging questions about the fundamental forces in the universe (macrocosm), and in the world of elementary particles (microcosm).

  • Quantum Field Theory I: Basics in Mathematics and Physics (2006)
  • Quantum Field Theory II: Quantum Electrodynamics (2009)
  • Quantum Field Theory III: Gauge Theory (2011)

Die Faszination der Wechselwirkungen zwischen Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften
Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung, 109 (2007) Sonderheft, p. 19-40

Mathematics – the cosmic eye of humanity

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Jana Gregor
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Paul Heine
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Jörg Lehnert
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02.12.2021, 13:31