Esther Szekeres

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Esther Szekeres
Born Esther Klein
(1910-02-20)20 February 1910
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary
Died 28 August 2005(2005-08-28) (aged 95)
Adelaide, Australia
Nationality HungarianAustralian
Occupation Mathematician
Employer Macquarie University
Known for Happy ending problem
Spouse(s) George Szekeres
Children 2

Esther Szekeres (Hungarian: Klein Eszter; 20 February 1910 – 28 August 2005) was a HungarianAustralian mathematician.


Esther Klein was born to Ignaz Klein in a Jewish family in Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary in 1910. As a young woman in Budapest, Klein was a member of a group of Hungarians including Paul Erdős, George Szekeres and Pál Turán that convened over interesting mathematical problems.[1]

In 1933, Klein proposed to the group a combinatorial problem that Erdős named as the Happy Ending problem as it led to her marriage to George Szekeres in 1937, with whom she had two children.[2]

Following the outbreak of World War II, Esther and George Szekeres emigrated to Australia after spending several years in Hongkew, a community of refugees located in Shanghai, China.[3] In Australia, they originally settled in Adelaide before moving to Sydney in the 1960s.

In Sydney, Esther lectured at Macquarie University and was actively involved in mathematics enrichment for high-school students. In 1984, she jointly founded a weekly mathematics enrichment meeting that has since expanded into a programme of about 30 groups that continue to meet weekly and inspire high school students throughout Australia and New Zealand.[4]

In 2004, she and George moved back to Adelaide, where, on 28 August 2005, she and her husband died within an hour of each other.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Esther Szekeres", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  2. ^ a b Cowling, Michael (7 November 2005). "A world of teaching and numbers - times two". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Shanghai, a city for Jews in China". The Menorah of Fang Bang Lu. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2005. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Peter (December 2005). "Szekeres Obituary". Australian Mathematics Trust. Retrieved 11 August 2012.