Talk:William Feller

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Untitled[edit]

William Feller was Jewish, and various editors have produced three different sources that say this. Wikipedia is about citing sources (WP:V). To suggest that because he was baptised he was not Jewish is original research so is banned under WP:NOR. --Brownlee 10:15, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

For the record, the sources are:
[1]
"Mathematicians under the Nazis," by Prof Sanford Segal of the University of Rochester (Princeton University Press, 2003, p460) states "...Tornier had collaborated with Willi Feller (who was Jewish)..."
Two refs to Jinfo: [2] & [3]
If anyone has a source saying that Feller was not Jewish, we can discuss reliability of sources. --Newport 11:47, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The first of these sources has been disputed, but no valid reason has been given. No source has yet been produced saying that Feller was not Jewish. There is a source that his mother was not, but it is original research to deduce from that that he was not. --20.138.246.89 12:04, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

The second and third reference are from a list that doesn't even give its sources for putting that name on the list. How do they count as separate sources? His Judaism IS disputed because it states in a biography that he was "christened". Therefore he himself couldn't have been Jewish. It states no where whether his father was Jewish and hence listing him in those categories IS disputed. LaGrange 16:57, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

This makes no sense. If you are only allowed to cite a source that gives a source, you are led to an infinite regression (well, source A cites source B which cites source C but C has no reference.) Lots of Jews have been christened, e.g. Benjamin Disraeli, but nobody would delete them from lists of Jews. Insisting that you have to have a source that someone's father is Jewish is clearly a breach of WP:NPOV and WP:NOR. The guiding principle is of course WP:V; we have sources that say he was Jewish, and no sources that say explicitly that he wasn't. End of story. --20.138.246.89 17:18, 4 July 2006 (UTC)


WP:NOR? Where exactly has original research been used? You really are just throwing these around at random. "Lots of Jews have been christened" makes as much sense to me as "Lots of Christians go to a synagogue." Clearly if the person was christened their religion was not Judaism, but Christianity. Whether that person had an ancestor who was Jewish (like Disraeli) in the past is completely irrelevant to the addition of categories such as "Jewish mathematicians". We know for a fact that Feller's mother was a Catholic. We have no idea of the extent of Feller's Judaism on his father's side (if any). The only source presented here states "Because of his Jewish background...expelled by Nazis" This could easily mean that Feller only had one Jewish grandparent (which was enough for the Nazi regime) but since we have 0 sources claiming if Feller's father was, in fact, Jewish...and we have an official biography that states that Feller's religion and Feller's mother's religion was NOT Judaism, adding him to Jewish categories is POV-pushing. What makes him more of a Jewish mathematician than a Catholic one? Especially when he himself didn't even practice Judaism! This is getting very silly and starting to get unconspicuously racy. I'm removing the categories as they are totally unnecessary anyway. If his Judaism is this secretive no ones gonna look him up as a Jewish mathematician anyway. LaGrange 08:40, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps I can help here. There are sources that say, explicitly and unambiguously, that he was Jewish.

There's only one good source that asserts him being Jewish and its the parenthetical comment noted below.LaGrange 04:29, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

LaGrange overlooks "...Tornier had collaborated with Willi Feller (who was Jewish)...". Under WP:V, we must therefore accept that he was Jewish unless there are credible sources that say that he was not.

There are. The Mactutor History of Mathematicians is a pretty good source.LaGrange 04:29, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

To say that because one source says that his mother was not Jewish, or that he was christened, is evidence that he was not Jewish is a violation of WP:OR because it is not an explicit assertion, only a deduction. Since we have statements that he was Jewish, it is totally irrelevant that we have no statements about his father.

No it's not. We know for a fact his mother was Catholic and there's evidence presented that the religion he practiced was Christianity yet not statements asserting if he practiced Judaism. So the only way he could still be Jewish is through ethnic heritage on his father's side. What his father was ethnically is exactly what your categories are relying on. LaGrange 04:29, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

In the same way, if we had a statement that someone was Christian and another that he attended synagogue, ot would be OR to say that he was Jewish. We have no source whatever about what religion he practised.--Brownlee 10:39, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks to Mr Brownlee. I would love a reference to the official biography, especially to the passages that say what religion he practised.
So would I LaGrange

But what makes him a Jewish mathematician is the statement that he was Jewish. To remove sourced information because an editor deems it "totally unnecessary" is a violation of NPOV.--20.138.246.89 14:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

It's "totally unnecessary" to deem a mathematician as a JEWISH mathematician especially when we have no evidence what he practiced Judaism and by Jewish law, he isn't Jewish. There's nothing that makes him more Jewish than Catholic UNLESS he practiced Judaism. Forcing the category on this article is pushing for a certain point on view on predominance in religious affliations. I'm not reverting anymore though since it's obviously impossible to instill a neutral point of view on this page. LaGrange 04:29, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Read the entertaining discussion if Feller with a non-jewish mother but possibly jewish father should be called jewish or not. Does not that type of conclusion also depend on whether he was a distingushed scientist or only a man with low or criminal reputation? 78.72.118.230 (talk) 13:00, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

This comment does not seem helpful to your reputation, following previous comments about "Jewish chatter" or "Defamation League". How does your "question" help us improve this article?  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 13:13, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Regarded as Jewish by anti-semites[edit]

The book "Mathematicians fleeing from Nazi Germany" discusses several letters by Feller discussing his "Jewish descent"; Richard von Mises mocked Feller for being 75% Aryan. (Both on page 155) Feller discusses Torsten Carleman's anti-semitism, particularly his habit of suggesting that foreigners and Jews be shot (page 135). Feller is quoted asking Courant for a note stating that Feller was "a good Christian" (on pages 32-33) during the year 1931 when he applied for German citizenship. Sincerely, Kiefer.Wolfowitz (talk) 00:04, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

When drinking, Carleman would tell his assistants that Jews and foreigners should be executed.

Page 135: Siegmund-Schultze, Reinhard (2009). Mathematicians fleeing from Nazi Germany: Individual fates and global impact. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. xxviii+471. ISBN 978-0-691-14041-4. MR 2522825. 

Feller explosion test?[edit]

What is a Feller explosion test? I could find no information or references about it besides this Wikipedia article... 58.107.215.254 05:53, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Try here [4] for example. It should be "Feller's explosion test" with an apostrophe and "s", if you do that it comes up in searches. Utternutter (talk) 02:56, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

"Feller" uttered with reverence[edit]

Gian-Carlo Rota lists "Feller" along with "Courant-Hilbert" and "Dunford and Schwartz" as the most revered books in mathematics, whose very mention brings religious feelings in the hearer (or something like that), in his review of Richard Stanley's Enumerative Combinatorics. (However, I agree with the leader of the Statistics Project that WP is better keeping to an encyclopedia tone!) Best regards, Kiefer.Wolfowitz (talk) 00:39, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Gian-Carlo was a student of his and generally revered him and his works; I went ahead and added "unreliable source" to the quote in the article. I'm certain that much better sources are out there that describe the lasting impact of his work, rather than an empty statement of reverence. Foxyshadis(talk) 20:31, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
See my edit summary reverting your edit. Your statement of emptiness is empty. Rota was one of the world's most respected mathematicians. See tributes in Math Intelligencer, and Notices of the AMS. Rota put Feller in the class of books like Dunford Schwartz, Stanley, etc., which is very select company. It was not an empty statement.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 20:43, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm confused, your edit summary is "see tributes in Math Intelligencer, Notices of AMS" but I'm not psychic and neither are the other readers of this article. If that's pertinent information, put it in the article citations. Surely they would even carry more weight by describing the impact on the field, rather than simply asserting that there was an impact. One person, however qualified, claiming to revere someone else is not very useful to anyone who doesn't automatically share that reverence. Foxyshadis(talk) 10:27, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Psychic powers do not exist. Furthermore, persons who do not drink from toilet bowls when unattended who are not drooling while rocking back and forth in a catatonic stupor may be supposed to have the ability to click the blue-link for Rota.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 10:30, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Not only had I already read the article on Rota, but I looked it over again and was unable to find either of the refs you referred to. Aside from your grade-school insults, it would help if you'd just bother to make a little bit of sense. All I wanted was to be pointed to what you referred to, so I could cite it in the article, even if you didn't want to. Do you really feel like you have anything to contribute to Wikipedia if that's your attitude? Foxyshadis(talk) 20:20, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Theory of measurement??[edit]

In the section on Work, the article says that Feller worked (among others) on the "theory of measurement." This almost surely should be "measure theory" (a big difference). I did not correct this since I am not sure he actually worked in measure theory per se (aside from the fact that some of his probability work can perhaps also be considered as work in measure theory). It would be important to make corrections. Mateat (talk) 23:51, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

As an immigrant does it make sense to put Feller in American people of X descent cats[edit]

It would seem to me that we should put Feller in various X descent cats based on his original nationality, and then just put in in the category Yugoslav emigrants to the United States. He does not belong in Category:Crotian emigrants to the United States because this is only for people who emigrated from both-1990 Croatia. Feller came to the US from Denmark, but his national allegiance at the time of getting citizenship was to Yugoslavia.John Pack Lambert (talk) 21:36, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

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