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AMS Presidents: A Timeline

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George David Birkhoff

 

18. George David Birkhoff (1884-1944)

President, 1925-1926

Ph.D. University of Chicago, Illinois, 1907

After receiving his doctorate Birkhoff taught at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, at Princeton University, and then in 1912 at Harvard University, where he stayed the rest of his life. Through his trips to Europe and around the globe, Birkhoff made contacts with many scholars, and was in demand as a writer and speaker. His main research was in the fields of differential and difference equations, calculus of variations, relativity, dynamical systems and stability, the three-body problem, and Poincaré's geometric theorem. Birkhoff was awarded the first AMS Bôcher Memorial Prize in 1923 for his paper, "Dynamical systems with two degrees of freedom," Transactions of the AMS (Vol. 18, 1917, pp. 199-300), and the Society established the George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics in 1967. Birkhoff was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

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