Victor Schlegel

Mathematician, Person

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Who is Victor Schlegel?

Victor Schlegel was a German mathematician. He is remembered for promoting the geometric algebra of Hermann Grassmann and for a method of visualizing polytopes called Schlegel diagrams.

In the nineteenth century there were various expansions of the traditional field of geometry through the innovations of hyperbolic geometry, non-Euclidean geometry and algebraic geometry. Hermann Grassmann was one of the more advanced innovators with his anticipation of linear algebra and multilinear algebra that he called "Extension theory". As recounted by David E. Rowe in 2010:

The most important new convert was Victor Schlegel, Grassmann’s colleague at Stettin Gymnasium from 1866 to 1868. Afterward Schlegel accepted a position as Oberlehrer at the Gymnasium in Waren, a small town in Mecklenburg.

In 1872 Schlegel published the first part of his System der Raumlehre which used Grassmann’s methods to develop plane geometry. Schlegel used his book to put forth Grassmann’s case, arguing that "Grassmann’s ideas had been neglected because he had not held a university chair." Continuing his criticism of academics, Schlegel expressed the reactionary view that

Rather than developing a sound basis for their analytic methods, contemporary mathematicians tended to invent new symbolisms on an ad hoc basis, creating a Babel-like cacophony of unintelligible languages.

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on July 23, 2013


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