Article ID: CBB000651667

Poor Taste as a Bright Character Trait: Emmy Noether and the Independent Social Democratic Party (2005)


The creation of algebraic topology required all the energy and the temperament of Emmy Noether according to topologists Paul Alexandroff and Heinz Hopf. Alexandroff stressed Noether's radical pro-Russian politics, which her colleagues found in poor taste; yet he found a bright trait of character. She joined the Independent Social Democrats (USPD) in 1919. They were tiny in Göttingen until that year when their vote soared as they called for a dictatorship of the proletariat. The Minister of the Army and many Göttingen students called them Bolshevist terrorists. Noether's colleague Richard Courant criticized USPD radicalism. Her colleague Hermann Weyl downplayed her radicalism and that view remains influential but the evidence favors Alexandroff. Weyl was ambivalent in parallel ways about her mathematics and her politics. He deeply admired her yet he found her abstractness and her politics excessive and even dangerous.


Description On the political radicalism of an algebraic topologist.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Mechthild Koreuber; (2015)
Emmy Noether, die Noether-Schule und die moderne Algebra - | Mechthild Koreuber | Springer (/isis/citation/CBB818238242/)

Article Ji, Lizhen; Papadopoulos, Athanase; (2013)
Historical Development of Teichmüller theory (/isis/citation/CBB001252702/)

Book Hentschel, Klaus; (2005)
Die Mentalität deutscher Physiker in der frühen Nachkriegszeit (1945--1949) (/isis/citation/CBB000650483/)

Article Tobies, Renate; (2007)
Zur Position von Mathematik und Mathematiker/innen in der Industrieforschung vor 1945 (/isis/citation/CBB000930717/)

Article Norbert Schappacher; Cordula Tollmien; (2016)
Emmy Noether, Hermann Weyl, and the Göttingen Academy: A marginal note (/isis/citation/CBB912892734/)

Chapter Hirzebruch, Friedrich; (2004)
Bemerkungen zum Exodus der Mathematik aus Deutschland (/isis/citation/CBB000772090/)

Article Tobies, Renate; (2003)
Briefe Emmy Noethers an P. S. Alexandroff (/isis/citation/CBB000501751/)

Book Gray, Jeremy; Parshall, Karen Hunger; (2007)
Episodes in the History of Modern Algebra (1800--1950) (/isis/citation/CBB000774194/)

Article Pavel Šišma; Laurent Mazliak; (2016)
The Moravian Crossroad: Mathematics and Mathematicians in Brno Between German Traditions and Czech Hopes (/isis/citation/CBB759227619/)

Article Sheynin, Oscar; (2003)
Mises on Mathematics in Nazi Germany (/isis/citation/CBB000774903/)

Book Christina Elizabeth Dando; (2017)
Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era (/isis/citation/CBB411303469/)

Article Lewis, Albert C.; (2004)
The Beginnings of the R. L. Moore School of Topology (/isis/citation/CBB000470917/)

Book Audin, Michèle; (2012)
Jacques Feldbau, Topologe: Das Schicksal eines Jüdischen Mathematikers (1914--1945) (/isis/citation/CBB001214133/)

Article Rodríguez, Laura; (2015)
Frigyes Riesz and the Emergence of General Topology (/isis/citation/CBB001202211/)

Book Chorlay, Renaud; (2015)
Géométrie et topologie différentielles, 1918-1932 (/isis/citation/CBB224758445/)

Article Moore, Gregory H.; (2007)
The Evolution of the Concept of Homeomorphism (/isis/citation/CBB000772446/)

Authors & Contributors
Tobies, Renate
Mechthild Koreuber
Lewis, Albert C.
Hentschel, Klaus
Ullrich, Peter
Hirzebruch, Friedrich
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Historia Mathematica
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Synchron Verlag
American Mathematical Society
Heidelberg Springer
Springer Spektrum
Science and politics
National Socialism
Women in science
Noether, Emmy
Poincaré, Jules Henri
Alexandroff, Pavel Sergejewitsch
Volterra, Vito
Kuratowski, Kazimierez
Gregory, Duncan Farquharson
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century, late
20th century
Berlin (Germany)
Prague (Czechia)
University of Chicago
Göttingen. Universität
Göttingen Academy

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment