Article ID: CBB000930717

Zur Position von Mathematik und Mathematiker/innen in der Industrieforschung vor 1945 (2007)


The paper considers the status of mathematics and mathematicians in German industrial labs from the 1920s. As an example, we take the use of statistical methods in the electrical engineering company Osram in Berlin. In the United States, the former employee and member of a special mathematical research department of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Walter Andrew Shewhart (1891--1967), is regarded as the father of statistical quality control. Although the first textbook on applications of mathematical statistics to problems of mass production was published in Germany in 1927, Germany was nevertheless generally considered as conservative in using statistical methods until 1945. In the past we have known little about whether and how these methods were actually applied in German industry before 1945. The present analysis is based on laboratory reports and other sources. It shows that in this field of research there was a close cooperation between industry and university, which was cut off in the mid 1930s due to the Nazi regime. Furthermore, we discovered that female researchers -- such as Iris Runge (1888--1966) in the Osram company -- could as individuals play a decisive role as mathematical consultants. The position of Runge will be described and compared with the position of mathematical researchers in other industrial labs.


Description Discussion of the relationship between university and industry and the role of women researchers after 1920, focusing on the use of statistics in quality control.

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Authors & Contributors
Goschler, Constantin
Zimmerman, Andrew D.
Hessenbrunch, Arne
Treitel, Corinna
Müller, Helen
Felt, Ulrike
Science in Context
History and Technology
International Statistical Review
TG Technikgeschichte
Franz Steiner Verlag
WP Druck & Verlag
University of Minnesota Press
Cambridge University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Lexington Books
Philosophy of science, as a discipline
Philosophy of science
Women in science
Public understanding of science
Reichenbach, Hans
Eylmann, Erhard
Noether, Emmy
Pearson, Karl
Gini, Corrado
Einstein, Albert
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
Berlin (Germany)
Vienna (Austria)
Weimar Republic (1919-1933)
Berlin Group (Philosophy)
Vienna Circle
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Biochemie, Berlin-Dahlem
Berlin University

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