Emmy Noether's AMS Membership Application

The escape in the 1930's from Germany to the United States of many mathematical scientists, sometimes called the great "brain drain," included Emmy Noether and Hermann Weyl.

Both had been on the faculty at the "Mecca of Mathematics," as the University of Göttingen was known before the Hitler years, and Weyl occupied the prestigious chair formerly occupied by David Hilbert.

It is little known that Emmy Noether, recommended by Weyl and Howard H. Mitchell, became a member of the American Mathematical Society.

In fact, P. S. Alexandrov wrote that "She was not a member of a single academy, including the academy of the city whose university was the setting for her research." Alexandrov then quoted Hermann Weyl on this subject:

When I was called permanently to Göttingen in 1930, I earnestly tried to obtain from the Ministerium a better position for her, because I was ashamed to occupy such a preferred position beside her whom I knew to be my superior as a mathematician in many respects. I did not succeed, nor did an attempt to push through her election as a member of the Göttinger Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften [the academy Alexandrov mentioned]. Tradition, prejudice, external considerations, weighted the balance against her scientific merits and scientific greatness, by that time denied by no one. In my Göttinger years, 1930-1933, she was without doubt the strongest center of mathematical activity there.

I thank AMS for providing the image, shown above, of Emmy Noether's membership application to the American Mathematical Society, reproduced from microfilm.

Emmy Noether, Mentors & Colleagues
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