Helmut Hasse (1898-1979)

Helmut Hasse was one of Emmy Noether's colleagues at the University of Göttingen, prior to her emigrating to the United States in 1933. With Hasse and Richard Brauer, Noether published fundamental results in

R. Brauer, H. Hasse, and E. Noether, "Beweis eines Hauptsatzes in der Theorie der Algebren," Jounal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik 167 (1932) 399-404.

After serving in the German navy during World War I, Hasse matriculated at the University of Göttingen in 1918. There he attended lectures of Edmund Landau, David Hilbert, Emmy Noether, and Erich Hecke. In 1820, Hasse went to Marburg, and under the direction of Kurt Hensel, discovered what is now known as the Hasse principle, or "local-global" principle, in algebraic number theory.

Hasse held positions at the universities in Kiel, Halle, and Marburg prior to 1933. In that year, drastic changes took place in Germany and German universities. Jewish academics, including Emmy Noether, were deprived of their academic positions, and they left for other countries.

At Göttingen, Hilbert had retired in 1930, and his chair, considered the foremost in mathematics in Germany, was filled by Hermann Weyl. With the troubles of 1933, Weyl resigned, and Helmut Hasse was appointed to the chair. The following year, Hasse became director of the Mathematical Institute at Göttingen, signifying both his eminence as a mathematician and political acceptability to the Nazi regime. Much is written in the references cited below about Hasse's views and activities during those difficult times.

From 1939 to 1945, Hasse worked in Berlin for the navy on problems in ballistics. He returned to Göttingen but was soon dismissed by the British occupation forces. In 1946 he took a research position at Berlin Academy. Thereafter, he held positions at the Humboldt University in East Berlin, and, from 1950 until retirement in 1966, at the University of Hamburg.

Hasse's collected works and a complete list of his scientific publications are given in

Helmut Hasse, (H. W. Leopoldt and P. Roquette, editors) Mathematische Abhandlungen, 3 volumes, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1975.

Among biographical writings are the following:

Heinrich Wolfgang Leopoldt, "Obituary: Helmut Hasse (August 25, 1898 - December 26, 1979)," Journal of Number Theory 14 (1982) 118-120.

Sanford L. Segal, "Helmut Hasse in 1934," Historia Mathematica 3 (1985) 55-69.

Saunders MacLane, "Mathematics at Göttingen under the Nazis," Notices of the American Mathematical Society 42 (1995) 1134-1138.

Several of Hasse's books have been published in several editions, including

Higher Algebra, F. Ungar, New York, 1960;

Zahlentheorie, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, 1969.

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