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In May 2003,me George Anastassiou Professor of Mathematics of University of Memphis,I traveled to France,Germany and Greece where I gave lectures in various universities and I had scientific collaborations.
In my birth city Athens,Greece with the help of a Greek well known historian of ancient
Greek Mathematics E.Spandagos I had the opportunity to visit and talk with the daughter
of most famous Greek mathematician C.Caratheodory,Ms.Despina Caratheodory,92.
That was a tremendous opportunity to learn first hand about one of the greatest mathematicians of all times,the man who with few others like Hilbert and Banach
shaped Analysis into its contemporary form.
C.Caratheodory was born in Berlin and died in Munich of Germany.
He came from a Greek family and though he lived most of his life in Germany
he spent a considerable time in Greece.
He studied in Belgium and Germany and his first degree was in Engineering
but his love to mathematics lead him to become a research mathematician.
He had teachers the best of mathematicians of the time,early 20th century,
like Klein,Hilbert,Minkowski,Tietze,etc.
Caratheodory served as a Professor of Mathematics in various universities of Germany
and Greece.Most notably at the universities of Munich and Athens.
His greatest contributions were in Real and Complex Analysis,in Calculus of Variations
and Measure Theory.Also he made great contributions in Thermodynamics and Optics.
He wrote 232 original research papers most of them with seminal contributions to Mathematics and Physics and he wrote 7 research monographs still of great interest and to be used as higher level texts.
Caratheodory had also a deep knowledge of worlds History and was a great humanist,
he loved his students,he was an excellent lecturer and he spent a considerable amount
of his time not only teach his students but to talk to them as a friend and a father.
During 19001950 he participated in many conferences as main speaker and lectured in the most famous universities of Europe and USA.In 1928 he was a visiting Professor at Harvard University.
Many times Albert Einstein, to his acknowledgement ,asked for mathematical help
from C.Caratheodory in very difficult problems,he got solutions and expressed his
amasement for the tremendous mathematical abilities of Caratheodory.
Well I learnt a lot from Despina Caratheodory,it was a pleasant visit resulted in this
article,also another longer one published on 111303 in a major circulation newspaper
Free Press in Athens,Greece dedicated to Caratheodorys 130 birthday.
George Anastassiou,Memphis,111403.
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