Esther Szekeres

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Esther Szekeres
Born Esther Klein
(1910-02-20)February 20, 1910
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary
Died August 28, 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 with an Erdős number of 1.[1]


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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[2][3]


  1. ^ "Erdős 1". The Erdös Number Project Data Files. Oakland University. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  2. ^ a b O'Connor, J J; Robertson, E F (2006). "George Szekeres". The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. University of St Andrews. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  3. ^ a b Cowling, Michael (2005-11-07). "A world of teaching and numbers - times two". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  4. ^ "Shanghai, a city for Jews in China". The Menorah of Fang Bang Lu. Archived from the original on 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2005-08-30. 
  5. ^ Taylor, Peter (2005-12). "Szekeres Obituary". Australian Mathematics Trust. Retrieved 2012-08-11.  Check date values in: |date= (help)