Transcending Tradition: Jewish Mathematicians in German-Speaking Academic Culture

 Portraits of Jewish Mathematicians in German-Speaking Academic Culture


October 4, 2012 - extended to SPRING 2013

The John Crerar Library
The University of Chicago
5730 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL

Mondays - Saturdays:  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

This exhibition presents the life and works of Jewish mathematicians in Germany. Spanning a period of 150 years, it documents their emergence from segregation into the academic limelight, recalls their emigration, flight or death after 1933, and illuminates their lasting legacies.

Transcending Tradition highlights the key role of Jewish mathematicians in German-speaking academic culture before 1933 – in teaching and academic research, in professional organizations and throughout mathematical culture, from academic to popular. A wealth of pictures and documents trace many moving lives: young researchers who helped shape modern mathematics and physics, scholars who went beyond mathematics and made their mark in literature or philosophy, and the story of the most important female mathematician of the 20th century. It explores the places and historical contexts and presents the actors and their contributions with scholarly precision and a compassionate eye for individuals and their fates.

For more information about this international exhibition, visit:


Both of these lectures will be held at the John Crerar Library in the Kathleen A. Zar Room:

November 5, 2012 - 5:30 p.m.
Hanna Holborn Gray
President Emerita and Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita, the University of Chicago
Lecture: "European Émigré Scholars and the American Academy After 1933”

December 3, 2012 - 5:30 p.m.
Sander Gilman
Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and  Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University
Lecture: "Smart Jews and Science: The Science of ‘Smartiness’ and Jews"


October 4, 2012

5:30–6:30 p.m. Program

Speakers Include:

Judith Nadler
Director and University Librarian
The University of Chicago

Robert J. Zimmer
President, The University of Chicago 

Silvan Schweber, “The Bethes and German Jewish Culture”
Professor of Physics and Koret Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus, Brandeis University

Robert A. Fefferman
Dean, Division of the Physical Sciences
The University of Chicago

Christian Brecht
German Consul General to the Midwest

Moritz Epple
Professor of History of Science
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

6:30–8:00 p.m. Reception and Exhibition Viewing 


The John Crerar Library
The University of Chicago
5730 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL

Please RSVP by October 1 at or 773.702.7695
If you require special assistance, please call 773.702.9626.

Complimentary valet parking will be available on the 5800 block of Ellis Avenue beginning at 5 p.m.


Sponsored by the University of Chicago Library, the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, the Division of the Physical Sciences, the Department of Germanic Studies,  the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, and the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago, the John Crerar Foundation, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe Institut, Deutsche Telekom Stiftung, and the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics.  Further support has been received from the Leibniz Prize funds awarded to Wolfgang Lück.

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5730 South Ellis Avenue Chicago Illinois 60637
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