Ernst G. Straus

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Ernst G. Straus
Ernst gabor straus.jpg
Ernst Gabor Straus (1922-1983)
Born February 25, 1922
Munich, Germany
Died July 12, 1983 (age 61)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Residence USA
Citizenship American
Nationality American-German
Fields Mathematics
Alma mater Hebrew University
Columbia University
Doctoral advisor F. J. Murray
Other academic advisors Albert Einstein
Doctoral students Krishnaswami Alladi
Aviezri Fraenkel
Daihachiro Sato
Known for Erdős–Straus conjecture

Ernst Gabor Straus (February 25, 1922 – July 12, 1983) was a German-American mathematician who helped found the theories of Euclidean Ramsey theory and of the arithmetic properties of analytic functions. His extensive list of co-authors includes Albert Einstein and Paul Erdős as well as other notable researchers including Richard Bellman, Béla Bollobás, Sarvadaman Chowla, Ronald Graham, László Lovász, Carl Pomerance, and George Szekeres. It is due to his collaboration with Straus that Einstein has Erdős number 2.

Straus was born in Munich, Germany, February 25, 1922, the youngest of five children of a prominent attorney, Eli Straus, and his wife Rahel Straus née Goitein, a medical doctor and feminist. Ernst Gabor Straus came to be known as a mathematical prodigy from a very young age. Following the death of his father, the family fled the Nazi regime for Palestine in 1933, and Straus was educated at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Although he never received an undergraduate degree, Straus began graduate studies at Columbia University in New York, earning a PhD in 1948 under F. J. Murray. Two years later, he became the assistant of Albert Einstein. After a three-year stint at the Institute for Advanced Study, Straus took a position at the University of California, Los Angeles, which he kept for the rest of his life. Straus died July 12, 1983 of heart failure.

Straus's interests ranged widely over his career, beginning with his early work on relativity with Einstein and continuing with deep work in analytic number theory, extremal graph theory, and combinatorics. One of his best known contributions in popular mathematics is the Erdős–Straus conjecture that every number of the form 4/n has a three-term Egyptian fraction.

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