jueves, 27 de octubre de 2022

The "Verfasser" anecdote in Derbyshire's book on the prime obsession

«I don't think Landau's Handbuch has ever been translated into English. Number theorist Hugh L. Montgomery ... taught himself German by reading his way through the Handbuch, one finger on the dictionary. He tells the following story. The first 50-odd pages of the book are given over to a historical survey, in sections each of which is headed with the name of a great mathematician who made contributions in the field: Euclid, Legendre, Dirichlet, and so on. The last four of these sections are headed "Hadamard," "von Mangoldt," "de la Vallée Poussin," "Verfasser." Hugh was extremely impressed with the contributions of Verfasser, but was puzzled to know why he had not heard the name of this fine mathematician before. It was some time before he learned that "Verfasser" is a German word meaning "author" (ordinary nouns are capitalized in German).»

J. Derbyshire, Prime obsession: B. Riemann and the greatest unsolved problem in mathematics. Published by Plume (a member of Penguin Group), USA, 2003, pp. 231-232.