Leo Königsberger

Leo Königsberger (15 October 1837 – 15 December 1921) was a German mathematician, and historian of science. He is best known for his three-volume biography of Hermann von Helmholtz, which remains the standard reference on the subject.[1]

Leo Königsberger
Photograph of Leo Königsberger, 1886
Born(1837-10-15)15 October 1837
Died15 December 1921(1921-12-15) (aged 84)
Alma materUniversity of Berlin (Ph.D., 1860)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Heidelberg
University of Vienna
ThesisDe motu puncti versus duo fixa centra attracti (1860)
Doctoral advisorKarl Weierstrass
Ernst Kummer
Doctoral studentsKarl Bopp
Jakob Horn
Edmund Husserl
Gyula Kőnig
Georg Alexander Pick
Alfred Pringsheim
Mór Réthy
Max Wolf


Königsberger was born in Posen (now Poznań, Poland), the son of a successful merchant. He studied at the University of Berlin with Karl Weierstrass, where he taught mathematics and physics (1860–64). He taught at the University of Greifswald (assistant professor, 1864–66; professor, 1866–69), the University of Heidelberg (1869–75), the Technische Universität Dresden (1875-77), and the University of Vienna (1877–84) before returning to Heidelberg in 1884, where remained until his retirement in 1914.[1]

In 1904 he was a Plenary Speaker of the ICM in Heidelberg.[2] In 1919 he published his autobiography, Mein Leben (My Life). The biography of Helmholtz was published in 1902 and 1903. He also wrote a biography of C. G. J. Jacobi.[1]

Königsberger's own research was primarily on elliptic functions and differential equations. He worked closely with Lazarus Fuchs, a childhood friend.[1]

Selected publications


  1. Rines 1920.
  2. "Gedächtnisrede auf C. G. J. Jacobi by L. Königsberger". Verhandlungen des dritten Mathematiker-Kongresses in Heidelberg von 8. bis 13. August 1904. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner. 1905. pp. 57–85.


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