**History of Mathematics**

Volume: 40;
2014;
231 pp;
Hardcover

MSC: Primary 01;
**Print ISBN: 978-1-4704-1076-6
Product Code: HMATH/40**

List Price: $39.00

Individual Member Price: $31.20

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# Pearls from a Lost City: The Lvov School of Mathematics

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*Roman Duda*

Translated by Daniel Davies

The fame of the Polish school at Lvov rests
with the diverse and fundamental contributions of Polish
mathematicians working there during the interwar years. In
particular, despite material hardship and without a notable
mathematical tradition, the school made major contributions to what is
now called functional analysis. The results and names of Banach, Kac,
Kuratowski, Mazur, Nikodym, Orlicz, Schauder, Sierpiński, Steinhaus,
and Ulam, among others, now appear in all the standard textbooks.

The vibrant joie de vivre and singular ambience of Lvov's once
scintillating social scene are evocatively recaptured in personal
recollections. The heyday of the famous Scottish
Café—unquestionably the most mathematically productive
cafeteria of all time—and its precious Scottish
Book of highly influential problems are described in detail,
revealing the special synergy of scholarship and camaraderie that
permanently elevated Polish mathematics from utter obscurity to global
prominence.

This chronicle of the Lvov school—its legacy and the tumultuous
historical events which defined its lifespan—will appeal equally to
mathematicians, historians, or general readers seeking a cultural and
institutional overview of key aspects of twentieth-century Polish
mathematics not described anywhere else in the extant English-language
literature.

#### Table of Contents

# Table of Contents

## Pearls from a Lost City: The Lvov School of Mathematics

#### Readership

Undergraduate, graduate, and research mathematicians interested in the history of mathematics and the Polish history of sciences.

#### Reviews

This eagerly awaited translation of the book Pearls describes a world-class Polish school of mathematics at Lvov (now the Ukrainian Lviv) that thrived during the interwar period and has left an enduring legacy that remains part of the folklore today. Published in English translation after a somewhat protracted period of negotiation, this important work fills a niche in the history of science and should become a standard source of mathematics in Poland, especially the genesis of functional analysis during its Golden Age, 1918-1939. Moreover, the translator, Oxford's Daniel Davies, explains material that is unlikely to be familiar to readers outside Poland.

-- Isis, A Journal of the History of Science Society

Many journal articles have been devoted to various aspects of mathematics in Lwów or to biographies of Lwów mathematicians, but Duda's book is the first comprehensive exposition. It is a must-read for everyone interested in the history of functional analysis or of mathematics in Poland, where the original Polish edition from 2007 ... has been highly successful. There is good reason to assume that the English version will be likewise successful.

-- Dirk Werner, ZMATH

This book gives the history of Lvov as a mathematical center, from pre-WWI to Soviet and Ukrainian times, looking especially at the interwar golden age and the special favorable environment for mathematical scholarship. The author also describes the ways in which the Soviets and Germans destroyed this rich environment. The book includes a list, with biographical sketches, of mathematicians associated with Lvov, and a Lvov biography. It was a special time and place for mathematics, disrupted by war and politics and oppression and murder, and one wonders what more could have been achieved in a peaceful environment.

-- CHOICE Reviews

The book under review is well and carefully written. The translation from Polish into English is polished and lively. ... I highly recommend the book for all university libraries, and I recommend it to those interested in the history of mathematics. The general mathematical reader will find it an entertaining and informative story about mathematicians and a truly extraordinary mathematical community.

-- Henry Heatherly, MAA Reviews