Max Newman

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Maxwell Herman Alexander Newman (7 February 1897 – 22 February 1984) was a British mathematician and codebreaker.


Pre-World War II

Max Newman was born Maxwell Neumann in Chelsea, London, England, on 7 February 1897.[1] His father was Herman Alexander Neumann, originally from the German city of Bromberg (now in Poland) who had emigrated with his family to London at the age of 15.[2] Herman worked as a secretary in a company, and married Sarah Ann Pike, an English schoolteacher, in 1896. The family moved to Dulwich in 1903, and Max attended Goodrich Road school, then City of London School from 1908.[3] He won a scholarship to study mathematics at St John's College, Cambridge in 1915, and in 1916 gained a first in part I of the Mathematical Tripos.[1]

His studies were postponed by World War I. His father was interned as an enemy alien after the start of the war in 1914, and upon his release he returned to Germany. In 1916, Max changed his name using a Deed of change of name to the anglicised "Newman" and Sarah did likewise in 1920.[4] For national service, Max taught at Archbishop Holgate's Grammar School in York, worked in the Royal Army Pay Corps, and taught at Chigwell School.[2] He was called up for military service in February 1918, but claimed conscientious objection due to his beliefs and his father's country of origin, and thereby avoided any direct role in the fighting.[5]

He resumed his interrupted studies in October 1919, and graduated in 1921 as a wrangler (equivalent to a first) in Part II of the Mathematical Tripos, and gained distinction in Schedule B (the equivalent of Part III).[1][2]

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