Author: Evelyn Lamb

A Math Lesson From Hitler’s Germany

In 1934, David Hilbert, by then a grand old man of German mathematics, was dining with Bernhard Rust, the Nazi minister of education. Rust asked, “How is mathematics at Göttingen, now that it is free from the Jewish influence?” Hilbert replied, “There is no mathematics in Göttingen anymore.” Or so the story goes. It is folklore at this point, a story mathematicians tell one another over...