Braunmühl, Anton von

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Braunmühl, Anton von

(b. Tiflis, Russia, 12 December 1853; d. Munich, Germany, 7 March 1908)

history of mathematics.

Brunmühl descended from the old Bavarian nobility, was the son of the famous architect Anton von Braunmühl (1820–1858), who had studied with Fr. Gärtner, and Anna Maria Schlenz (1823–1892). In 1879 he married Franzinska Stölzl (1853–1917), who bore him two daughters.

After the sudden death of his father, Braunmühl grew up in Munich and enrolled in its university in 1873. There he attended lectures on astronomy by Johann Lamont, on physics by Philipp Jolly, on the history of literature by Michael Bernays, and on cultural history by Wilhelm Riehl; he also studied mathematics under Ludwig Seidel, Gustav Bauer, and Friedrich Narr. At the Munich Technical University, Braunmühl studied further under Alexander Brill, Felix Klein, and Johann Bischoff. In 1888 he as appointed extraordinary professor of mathematics at the Technical University and was promoted to ordinary professor of mathematics in 1892. He was recognized as a scientist and was held in extraordinary esteem as a teacher. Braunmühl’s lectures on the history of mathematics, given regularly after 1893, were unique in that they were offered without credit, as were the seminars on the history of mathematics that were given right after the lectures. These lectures and seminars stimulated Wilhelm Kutta, Axel Bjoernbo, and Carl Wallner, among others, to undertake independent work in the history of mathematics.

At the turn of the century Braunmühl, Moritz Cantor, Maximilian Curtze, and Sigmund Günther were leading authorities on the history of mathematics in Germany. Braunmühl’s contributions, pertaining especially to the history of trigonometry, surpass those of many of his contemporaries in thorough study of sources, complete reflection of previous literature, and precise presentation of specific details, as well as in their critical evaluation.


I. Original Works. Braumühl’s writings include Chr. Scheiner als Mathematiker, Physiker und Astronom (Bamberg, 1891); “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Trigonometrie,” in Nova acta Leopoldina71 (1897), 1–30; and Vorlesungern über Geschichte der Trigonometrie, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1900–1903).

Preliminary studies by Brunmühl were utilized after his death by H. Wieleitner in Geschichte der Mathematik, II, pt. 1 (leipzing, 1911).

II. Secondary Literature. Works on Braunmühl are S.Günther, “Auton von Braunmühl, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der Medizin und der Naturwissenschafter, 7 (1908), 362–367; J.E. Hofmann, “Auton von Braunmühl,” in Neue deutsche Biographie, II (1955), 560; and H. Wieleitner, “Zum Gedächtnis Anton von Braunmühls,” in Bibliotheca mathematica, 3rd ser., 11 (1910), 316–330, with a portrait and a bibliography.

Joseph E. Hofmann