Oswald Teichmüller

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Oswald Teichmüller
Born (1913-06-13)13 June 1913
Nordhausen, Province of Saxony, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 11 September 1943(1943-09-11) (aged 30)
Dnieper, Soviet Union
Nationality German
Fields Mathematics
Alma mater University of Göttingen
Doctoral advisor Helmut Hasse
Known for Teichmüller mapping
Teichmüller space

Paul Julius Oswald Teichmüller (18 June 1913 – ca. September 1943) was a German mathematician who introduced quasiconformal mappings and differential geometric methods into complex analysis.

According to Friedrich L. Bauer,

" ... he was a genius but as an extreme Nazi shamefully stood out with his agitation against Landau and Courant."[1]


Teichmüller was born in Nordhausen, in the Prussian Province of Saxony (present-day Thuringia). He grew up in Sankt Andreasberg and earned his Abitur in 1931. In the same year he started studying mathematics at the University of Göttingen. Among his professors were Richard Courant, Hermann Weyl, Otto Neugebauer, Gustav Herglotz, and Edmund Landau. Teichmüller received his doctorate in 1935 under Helmut Hasse.

He joined the Nazi Party in July 1931 and became a member of the Sturmabteilung in August 1931. In 1933 he organized the boycott of his Jewish professor Edmund Landau.[2] In 1936 and 1937 he attended lectures by Nevanlinna, who sympathized with the Third Reich, where he was a guest professor and, like Brouwer, was considered by the Nazis as "politically reliable" (Rudolf Heß was in charge of the assessment).[3] Under the influence of Nevanlinna, Teichmüller specialized in geometric function theory. Upon personal authorisation from the Führer, he joined the Wehrmacht in 1939 and was killed fighting on the Eastern Front.


The theory of Teichmüller spaces (a moduli space theory for Riemann surfaces) was developed by Lars Ahlfors, Lipman Bers and others. The Teichmüller representative or Teichmüller character is a construction with p-adic numbers. The Teichmüller cocycle is associated to a simple algebra.

Much of Teichmüller's work was published in Deutsche Mathematik, a highly ideological journal founded by Ludwig Bieberbach that contained not only scholarly articles but also race propaganda. Teichmüller co-edited the journal since 1938. Because of the nature of the journal, his papers were hard to find in modern libraries before the publication of his collected works.



  1. ^ Friedrich L. Bauer (1994), Entzifferte Geheimnisse. Methoden und Maximen der Kryptologie [Decrypted Secrets: Methods and Maxims of Cryptology], Springer [page needed]
  2. ^ Thomas Huckle. Jüdische Mathematiker im "Dritten Reich" (Jewish Mathematicians in (the) "Third Reich") (in German).
  3. ^ Lehto, Olli (2001). Korkeat maailmat. Rolf Nevanlinnan elämä [High Worlds. The life of Rolf Nevanlinna] (in Finnish). Otava. 317 pages. OCLC 58345155. 
  • Norbert Schappacher and E. Scholz (1992). "Oswald Teichmüller — Leben und Werk" (PDF). Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung. 94 (1): 1—40. 
  • Papadopoulos, Athanase, ed. (2007), Handbook of Teichmüller theory. Vol. I, IRMA Lectures in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 11, European Mathematical Society (EMS), Zürich, doi:10.4171/029, ISBN 978-3-03719-029-6, MR2284826
  • Papadopoulos, Athanase, ed. (2009), Handbook of Teichmüller theory. Vol. II, IRMA Lectures in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 13, European Mathematical Society (EMS), Zürich, doi:10.4171/055, ISBN 978-3-03719-055-5, MR2524085
  • Papadopoulos, Athanase, ed. (2012), Handbook of Teichmüller theory. Vol. III, IRMA Lectures in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 17, European Mathematical Society (EMS), Zürich, doi:10.4171/103, ISBN 978-3-03719-103-3
  • Papadopoulos, Athanase, ed. (2014), Handbook of Teichmüller theory. Vol. IV, IRMA Lectures in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 19, European Mathematical Society (EMS), Zürich, doi:10.4171/117, ISBN 978-3-03719-117-0

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