Michael Fekete

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Michael (Mihály) Fekete
Born (1886-07-19)19 July 1886
Senta, Bácska, Austria-Hungary, modern Serbia
Died 13 May 1957(1957-05-13) (aged 70)
Jerusalem, Israel
Residence Israel
Nationality Israel
Alma mater Budapest University
Known for Fekete's lemma, Fekete polynomial
Awards Israel Prize for Exact Sciences (1955)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Budapest University
Hebrew University
Doctoral advisor Lipót Fejér
Doctoral students Aryeh Dvoretzky
Michael Bahir Maschler
Zeev Nehari
Menahem Max Schiffer

Michael (Mihály) Fekete (Hebrew: מיכאל פקטה‎; 19 July 1886 – 13 May 1957) was an Israeli-Hungarian mathematician.[1]


Mathematics professor Michael Fekete, the Provost of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with his water quota, during the siege of Jerusalem

Fekete was born in 1886 in Zenta, Bačka, in the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today Senta in Vojvodina, Serbia). He received his PhD in 1909 from the Budapest University (later renamed to Eötvös Loránd University), under the stewardship of Lipót Fejér, among whose students were other mathematicians such as Paul Erdős, John von Neumann, Pál Turán and George Pólya. After completing his PhD he left to Georg-August University of Göttingen, which in those days was considered a mathematics hub, and subsequently returned to the University of Budapest, where he attained the title of Privatdozent. In addition, Fekete engaged in private mathematics tutoring. Among his students was János Neumann, who, was later known in the United States as John von Neumann. In 1922, Fekete published a paper together with von Neumann in the subject of extremal polynomials. This was von Neumann's first scientific paper. Fekete dedicated the majority of his scientific work to the transfinite diameter.

In 1928 he immigrated to Mandate Palestine and was among the first instructors in the Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1929 he was promoted to professor in the institute. Eventually he succeeded the mathematicians Edmund Landau and Adolf Abraham Halevi Fraenkel in heading the institute. He later moved on to become the dean of Natural Sciences, and between the years 1946–1948 he was Hebrew University Provost.

Among his students were Aryeh Dvoretzky, Amnon Jakimovski and Michael Bahir Maschler.


In 1955, Fekete was awarded the Israel Prize for exact sciences.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rogosinski, W. W. (1958). "Obituary: Michael Fekete". Journal of the London Mathematical Society. Second Series. 33: 496–500. doi:10.1112/jlms/s1-33.4.496. ISSN 0024-6107. MR 0100535. 
  2. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1955 (in Hebrew)". cms.education.gov.il (Israel Prize official website). Archived from the original on March 4, 2010. 

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