Nathan Jacobson

Nathan Jacobson (October 5, 1910 – December 5, 1999) was an American mathematician.[1]

Nathan Jacobson
Jacobson in 1974
Born(1910-10-05)October 5, 1910
DiedDecember 5, 1999(1999-12-05) (aged 89)
Alma materPrinceton University (Ph.D. 1934)
University of Alabama (B.S. 1930)
Known forMathematics textbooks; Jacobson–Bourbaki theorem; Jacobson's conjecture; Jacobson density theorem; Jacobson radical; Jacobson ring
AwardsAMS Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement (1998)
Scientific career
InstitutionsU.N.C. at Chapel Hill
Johns Hopkins University
Yale University
Doctoral advisorJoseph Wedderburn
Doctoral studentsGeorgia Benkart
Charles W. Curtis
Craig Huneke
Kevin McCrimmon
George Seligman
Daya-Nand Verma
Maria Wonenburger


Born Nachman Arbiser[2] in Warsaw, Jacobson emigrated to America with his family in 1918. Recognized as one of the leading algebraists of his generation, he wrote more than a dozen standard textbooks. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1930 and was awarded a doctorate in mathematics from Princeton University in 1934. While working on his thesis, Non-commutative polynomials and cyclic algebras, he was advised by Joseph Wedderburn.

Jacobson taught and researched at Bryn Mawr College (1935–1936), the University of Chicago (1936–1937), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1937–1943), and Johns Hopkins University (1943–1947) before joining Yale University in 1947. He remained at Yale until his retirement.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as president of the American Mathematical Society from 1971 to 1973, and was awarded their highest honour, the Leroy P. Steele prize for lifetime achievement, in 1998.[3] He was also vice-president of the International Mathematical Union from 1972 to 1974.

Selected works


  • Collected Mathematical Papers, 3 vols., 1989
  • The theory of Rings. 1943[4]
  • Lectures in Abstract Algebra.[5][6][7] 3 vols., Van Nostrand 1951, 1953, 1964, Reprint by Springer 1975 (Vol.1 Basic concepts, Vol.2 Linear Algebra, Vol.3 Theory of fields and Galois theory)
  • Structure of Rings. AMS 1956[8]
  • Lie Algebras. Interscience 1962[9]
  • Structure and Representations of Jordan Algebras. AMS 1968[10]
  • Exceptional Lie Algebras. Dekker 1971
  • Basic Algebra. Freeman, San Francisco 1974, Vol. 1; 1980, Vol. 2; 2nd edition, Vol. 1. 1985. 2nd edition, Vol. 2. 1989.
  • PI-Algebras. An Introduction. Springer 1975
  • Finite-dimensional division algebras over fields 1996


See also


  1. "Nathan Jacobson (1910-1999)" (PDF). Notices of the AMS. 47: 1061–71. 1999.
  2. "Nathan Jacobson". American National Biography Online. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  3. "1998 Steele Prizes" (PDF). Notices of the AMS. 48: 504–8. 1998.
  4. Baer, Reinhold (1946). "Review: Nathan Jacobson, The theory of rings". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 52 (3): 220–222. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1946-08527-4.
  5. Mills, W. H. (1952). "Review: N. Jacobson, Lectures in abstract algebra. Vol. I. Basic concepts". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 58 (5): 579–580. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1952-09628-2.
  6. Dieudonné, J. (1953). "Review: N. Jacobson, Lectures in abstract algebra. Vol. II. Linear algebra". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 59 (5): 480–483. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1953-09727-0.
  7. Herstein, I. N. (1967). "Book Review: Nathan Jacobson, Lectures in abstract algebra, Vol. III, Theory of fields and Galois theory". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 73 (1): 44–46. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1967-11628-8.
  8. Rosenberg, Alex (1957). "Review: Nathan Jacobson, Structure of rings" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 63 (1): 46–50. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1957-10071-8.
  9. Hochschild, G. (1963). "Review: Nathan Jacobson, Lie algebras". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 69 (1): 37–39. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1963-10841-1.
  10. Schafer, R. D. (1973). "Review: Structure and Representations of Jordan Algebras by Nathan Jacobson". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 79 (3): 509–514. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1973-13175-1.
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