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Michael Fekete

Michael Fekete

Israeli-Hungarian mathematician (1886–1957)
Michael Fekete
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Israeli-Hungarian mathematician (1886–1957)
A.K.A. Fekete Mihály
Was Mathematician Educator
From Hungary Israel
Type Academia Mathematics
Gender male
Birth 19 July 1886, Senta, North Banat District, Vojvodina, Serbia
Death 13 May 1957, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel (aged 70 years)
The details


Michael (Mihály) Fekete (Hebrew: מיכאל פקטה‎‎; July 19, 1886 – May 13, 1957) was an Israeli-Hungarian mathematician.


Mathematics professor Michael Fekete, the Provost of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with his water quota, during the siege of Jerusalem

Fekete was born in 1886 in Zenta, Bačka, in the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today Senta in Vojvodina, Serbia). He received his PhD in 1909 from the Budapest University (later renamed to Eötvös Loránd University), under the stewardship of Lipót Fejér, among whose students were other mathematicians such as Paul Erdős, John von Neumann, Pál Turán and George Pólya. After completing his PhD he left to Georg-August University of Göttingen, which in those days was considered a mathematics hub, and subsequently returned to the University of Budapest, where he attained the title of Privatdozent. In addition, Fekete engaged in private mathematics tutoring. Among his students was János Neumann, who, was later known in the United States as John von Neumann. In 1922, Fekete published a paper together with von Neumann in the subject of extremal polynomials. This was von Neumann's first scientific paper. Fekete dedicated the majority of his scientific work to the transfinite diameter.

In 1928 he immigrated to Mandate Palestine and was among the first instructors in the Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1929 he was promoted to professor in the institute. Eventually he succeeded the mathematicians Edmund Landau and Adolf Abraham Halevi Fraenkel in heading the institute. He later moved on to become the dean of Natural Sciences, and between the years 1946–1948 he was Hebrew University Provost.

Among his students were Aryeh Dvoretzky, Amnon Jakimovski and Michael Bahir Maschler.


In 1955, Fekete was awarded the Israel Prize for exact sciences.

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