Kazimierz Kuratowski

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Kazimierz Kuratowski (February 2, 1896 – June 18, 1980) was a Polish mathematician and logician. He was one of the leading representatives of the Warsaw School of Mathematics.



Kazimierz Kuratowski was born in Warsaw on February 2, 1896. He was a son of Marek Kuratow, a barrister, and Róża Karzewski. Kuratowski was born a subject of Tsarist Russia. He completed a Warsaw secondary school, which was named after general Paweł Chrzanowski. In 1913, he enrolled in an engineering course at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, in part because he did not wish to study in Russian. He completed only one year of study when the outbreak of World War I precluded any further enrollment. In 1915, Kuratowski restarted his university education at the Warsaw University, this time in mathematics, obtaining a Ph.D. in 1921. His thesis statement consisted of two parts. One was devoted to an axiomatic depiction of topology due to an introduction of the closure axioms (Sur la notion de l'ensemble fini, "Fundamenta Mathematicae", 1/1920). The second one was a final resolution of an irreducible continuum, which was the subject of a French doctoral thesis written by Zygmunt Janiszewski. Since Janiszewski was deceased, Kuratowski's supervisor was Wacław Sierpiński. In autumn 1921, Kuratowski gained his PhD on the basis of the thesis, which was a solution to certain problems in set theory raised by a Belgian mathematician, Charles-Jean Étienne Gustave Nicolas, Baron de la Vallée Poussin. Two years later Kuratowski was appointed deputy professor of mathematics at Warsaw University. He was then appointed professor of mathematics in 1927, at Lviv Polytechnic in Lviv, Poland, where he was a head of the Mathematics Department until 1933. Kuratowski was also dean of the Department of Mathematics twice there. In 1934, after the closure of the department, he was appointed the professor at Warsaw University. A year later Kuratowski was nominated as the head of Mathematics Department and he kept his position until 1952. From 1936 to 1939 he was secretary of the Mathematics Committee in The Council of Science and Applied Sciences. During World War II, he gave lectures at the underground university in Warsaw. In 1929, Kuratowski became a member of the Warsaw Scientific Society, where from 1946 he was vice-president at Mathematics Department, and from 1949 he was chosen to be the vice-president of Warsaw Scientific Society. In February 1945, Kuratowski started to lecture at the reopened Warsaw University. In 1945, he became a member of the Polish Academy of Learning, and in 1952 of the Polish Academy of Sciences, where he was the vice-president from 1957 to 1968. After World War II, Kuratowski was actively involved in the rebuilding of scientific life in Poland. Therefore, he helped to establish the State Mathematical Institute, which was incorporated into the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1952. From 1948 until 1967 Kazimierz Kuratowski was director of the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and was also a long-time chairman of the Polish and International Mathematics Societies. He was president of the Scientific Council of the State Institute of Mathematics (in the years 1968-1980). From 1948 to 1980 he was the head of the topology section. One of his students was Andrzej Mostowski. Kazimierz Kuratowski was one of a celebrated group of Polish mathematicians who would meet at Lviv's Scottish Café. He was a president of the Polish Mathematical Society (PTM) and a member of the Warsaw Scientific Society (TNW). What is more, he was chief editor in "Fundamenta Mathematicae", a series of publications in "Polish Mathematical Society Annals". Furthermore, Kuratowski worked as an editor in the Polish Academy of Sciences Bulletin. He was also one of the writers of the Mathematical monographs, which were created in cooperation with the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IMPAN). High quality research monographs of the representatives of Warsaw's and Lviv’s School of Mathematics, which concerned all areas of pure and applied mathematics, were published in these volumes. Kazimierz Kuratowski was an active member of many scientific societies and foreign scientific academies, for instance, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

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