Ernst Sejersted Selmer

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Ernst Sejersted Selmer (20 February 1920 – 8 November 2006) was a Norwegian mathematician who worked on number theory. The Selmer group of an Abelian variety is named after him. His main work came within the field of diophantine equations.[1] He worked as a cryptologist during the Second World War.[2]


Selmer was born in Oslo as a son of Ernst W. Selmer. He took the dr.philos. degree in 1952 and was hired as a lecturer at the University of Oslo in the same year.

Selmer received a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to study in the United States for the years 1951-1952.[3] He arrived in January 1951 as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. where the IAS computer was being constructed for John von Neumann. From Princeton, Selmer traveled to Berkeley where he contributed to Paul Morton's construction of the CALDIC computer. He was hired by Consolidated Engineering Corporation (CEC) as a consultant late in 1951 and designed much of the logic for their Datatron computer, working closely with other CEC employees such as Sibyl M. Rock.[4] He returned to the Institute for Advanced Study again as a visiting scholar in 1952.[5]

On September 25, 1953 Selmer applied for a U.S. Patent for an Electronic Adder. This patent, No. 2,947,479, was awarded on August 2, 1960.[6]

From 1956 to 1987 he was a professor at the University of Bergen. He was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[7]


  • Selmer, Ernst S. (1966), Linear recurrence relations over finite fields, Department of Mathematics, University of Bergen


  1. ^ Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Ernst Sejersted Selmer". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. ^ Selmer, Ernst S. (1993), "From the Memoirs of a Norwegian Cryptologist", EUROCRYPT, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 765, pp. 142–150, doi:10.1007/3-540-48285-7_12, ISBN 978-3-540-57600-6
  3. ^ "The Rockefeller Foundation Annual Report, 1952" (PDF). Rockefeller Foundation. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  4. ^ Sawyer, Tom. "Tom's Datatron 205". Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  5. ^ Institute for Advanced Study: A Community of Scholars Archived 2013-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ U.S. Patent No. 2,947,479.
  7. ^ Tverberg, Helge. "Minnetale over professor Ernst Sejersted Selmer" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 1 January 2010.

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