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Birkhäuser - Birkhäuser History of Science | Iris Runge - A Life at the Crossroads of Mathematics, Science, and Industry

Iris Runge

A Life at the Crossroads of Mathematics, Science, and Industry

Tobies, Renate

2012, XXII, 442p. 40 illus., 34 illus. in color.

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  • The book illuminates the beginnings of industrial mathematics and its international context, the history of the application of mathematical statistics, and the use of numerical and graphical methods in filament bulb and electron tube laboratories
  • Using many original sources, the book provides a comprehensive illustration of a woman scientist (the eldest daughter of the famous mathematician Carl Runge, and the sister-in-law of Richard Courant) who wrote her first publication as a student with the theoretical physicist Arnold Sommerfeld. Not only did she work enthusiastically in the field of applied mathematics, but she also developed and maintained counter-cultural social attitudes during periods of political unrest
  • The book shows how the international center of mathematics and natural sciences at Göttingen University was established by Felix Klein and how it established the foundation for using and developing new mathematical methods for the benefit of such fields as electrical engineering and physical chemistry
  • The book sheds new light on the history of the electrical industry – especially vacuum tube laboratories – and on the interdisciplinary collaboration between mathematicians, physicists, chemists and electrical engineers; on history of secondary and higher education in Germany; and on the process of emigration during the Nazi era
This book concerns the origins of mathematical problem solving at the internationally active Osram and Telefunken Corporations during the golden years of broadcasting and electron tube research. The woman scientist Iris Runge, who received an interdisciplinary education at the University of Göttingen, was long employed as the sole mathematical authority at these companies in Berlin. It will be shown how mathematical connections were made between statistics and quality control, and between physical-chemical models and the actual problems of mass production. The organization of industrial laboratories, the relationship between theoretical and experimental work, and the role of mathematicians in these settings will also be explained. By investigating the social, economic, and political conditions that unfolded from the time of the German Empire until the end of the Second World War, the book hopes to build a bridge between specialized fields – mathematics and engineering – and the general culture of a particular era. It hopes, furthermore, to build a bridge between the history of science and industry, on the one hand, and the fields of Gender and Women’s Studies on the other. Finally, by examining the life and work of numerous industrial researchers, insight will be offered into the conditions that enabled a woman to achieve a prominent professional position during a time when women were typically excluded from the scientific workforce.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Iris Runge - Osram - economic mathematics - technical mathematics

Related subjects » Birkhäuser History of Science

Table of contents 

Foreword.- Author’s Preface.- 1 Introduction.- 2 Formative Groups.- 3 Mathematics at The Osram and Telefunken Corporations.- 4 Interactions Between Science, Politics, And Society.- 5 Post-War Developments And Concluding Remarks.- Appendix.- Bibliography.- Index of Names.

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