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Richard Edler von Mises (German: ; 19 April 1883 – 14 July 1953) was a scientist and mathematician who worked on solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, aeronautics, statistics and probability theory. He held the position of Gordon-McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He described his work in his own words shortly before his death as being on
Although best known for his mathematical work, he also contributed to the philosophy of science as a neo-positivist, following the line of Ernst Mach. Historians of the Vienna Circle of logical empiricism recognize a "first phase" from 1907 through 1914 with Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn, and Otto Neurath. His older brother, Ludwig von Mises, held an opposite point of view with respect to positivism and epistemology.^{[1]}
During his time in Istanbul, von Mises maintained close contact with Philipp Frank,^{[2]} a logical positivist and Professor of Physics in Prague until 1938. His literary interests included the Austrian novelist Robert Musil and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, on whom he became a recognized expert.
Eighteen months after his brother, the Brno). In 1905, still a student, he published an article on "Zur konstruktiven Infinitesimalgeometrie der ebenen Kurven," in the prestigious Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik.
In 1908 Mises was awarded a doctorate from Vienna (his dissertation was on "the determination of flywheel masses in crank drives") and he received his habilitation from Brünn (now Brno) (on "Theory of the Waterwheels") to lecture on engineering. In 1909, at 26, he was appointed professor of applied mathematics in Straßburg, then part of the German Empire (now Strasbourg, Alsace, France) and received Prussian citizenship. His application for a teaching position at the Brno University of Technology was interrupted by World War I.
A pilot who had lectured on the design of aircraft and given in Straßburg the first university course on powered flight in 1913, he then joined the Austro-Hungarian army and flew as a test pilot and an instructor. In 1915, he supervised the construction of a 600-horsepower (450 kW) aircraft – the "Mises-Flugzeug" (Mises aircraft) for the Austrian army. It was completed in 1916, but never saw action.
After the war Mises held the new chair of hydrodynamics and aerodynamics at the Dresden Technische Hochschule. In 1919 he was appointed director (with full professorship) of the new Institute of Applied Mathematics created at the behest of Erhard Schmidt at the University of Berlin. In 1921 he founded the journal Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik and became its editor.
With the rise of the National Socialist (Nazi) party to power in 1933, von Mises, felt his position threatened despite his World War I military service. He moved to Turkey, where he held the newly created chair of Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Istanbul. In 1939 he accepted a position in the United States, where he was appointed 1944 Gordon-McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He married Hilda Geiringer in 1943; she had been his assistant at the Institute and followed him to Turkey and then to the U.S. after losing her position in December 1933.
In 1950 Mises declined an offer of honorary membership from the Communist-dominated East German Academy of Science.
In aerodynamics, Richard von Mises made notable advances in boundary-layer-flow theory and airfoil design. He developed the distortion energy theory of stress, which is one of the most important concepts used by engineers in material strength calculations.
His ideas were not unanimously well received, although Alexander Ostrowski had said of him:
and also wrote:
Yet Andrey Kolmogorov, whose rival axiomatisation was better received, was less severe:
In solid mechanics, Richard von Mises made an important contribution to the theory of plasticity by formulating what has become known as the von Mises yield criterion, independently of Tytus Maksymilian Huber.
He is also often credited for the Principle of Maximum Plastic Dissipation.
The Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics) has awarded a Richard von Mises-Preis (Prize) since 1989.
In probability theory, he was the person who originally proposed the now famous "birthday problem".^{[3]} He also defined the impossibility of a gambling system.^{[4]}^{[5]}
Regarding personal names: Edler is a rank of nobility, not a first or middle name. The female form is Edle.
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