Pólya, George, 1887-1985

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1887-12-13
Death 1985-09-07
Americans
English, German, French

Biographical notes:

Hungarian mathematician. Educated at the University of Budapest and the University of Paris, Pólya taught at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich from 1914 to 1940. His students included future Stanford physics professors Felix Bloch and Hans Staub. In 1942 he joined Stanford's Department of Mathematics, whose chairman, Gábor Szegö, had been a fellow student in Hungary. He continued to teach until his 90th birthday in 1977. Following early research on probability, Pólya turned to the difficult area of the theory of functions of a complex variable. He was also interested in geometry and geometrical methods. His study of symmetry in the plane was studied and applied by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Pólya's later work on the principles of heuristics and problem solving is credited with providing a foundation for the application of computers to artificial intelligence. In addition to his own research and teaching, Pólya was concerned with methods of teaching mathematics and mathematics teachers. He is considered the father of the current trend toward emphasizing problem solving in mathematical teaching. His very successful book HOW TO SOLVE IT has been translated into fifteen languages and is still used widely. He died in 1985.

From the description of George Polya papers, 1884-1985. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462019720

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Subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics--Study and teaching

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