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Dyck, Walther Franz Anton von

Dyck, Walther Franz Anton von

(b. Munich, Germany, 6 December 1856; d. Munich, 5 November 1934)


Dyck was the son of Hermann Dyck, a painter and the director of the Munich Kunstgewerbeschule, and Marie Royko. He married Auguste Müller in 1886; they had two daughters.

Dyck studied mathematics in Munich, Berlin, and Leipzig. He qualified as a university lecturer in Leipzig in 1882 and was an assistant of F. Klein. In 1884 he became a professor at the Munich Polytechnikum. He made noteworthy contributions to function theory, group theory, topology, potential theory, and the formative discussion on integral curves of differential equations. He was also one of the founders of the Encyclopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften. Appointed director of the Polytechnikum in 1900, he brought about its rise to university standing as the Technische Hochschule; and as rector (1903–1906, 1919–1925) he carried out a major building expansion. In 1903 he was enlisted, along with Carl von Linde, by Oskar von Miller to aid in the establishment and early development of the Deutsches Museum; he also served as its second chairman from 1906. As a dedicated member of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (and a class secretary in 1924), he prepared the plan and organization of the complete edition of the writings and letters of Kepler, including the posthumous works (for the most part in Pulkovo, near Leningrad). Moreover, as a founder (along with F. Schmitt-Ott) of the Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaften, he concerned himself with assuring financial support for the edition.

Linguistically gifted and a warm, kind-hearted man of wide-ranging and liberal interests, including art and music, Dyck was an outstanding scholar and organizer and an, enthusiastic and inspiring teacher.


I. Original Works. Dyck’s writings include Über regulär verzweigte Riemannsche Flächen und die durch sie bestimmten Irratìonalìtäten (Munich, 1879), his doctoral dissertation; “Gruppentheoretische Studien,” in Mathematische Annalen, 20 (1882), 1–44; 22 (1882), 70–108; “Beiträge zur Analysis situs,” in Sitzungsberichte der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig (1885), 314–325; (1886), 53–69; (1888), 40–52; and in Mathematische Annalen, 32 (1888), 457–512; 37 (1890), 273–316; Katalog math.-physik. Modelle...(Munich, 1892; supp., 1893); “Beiträge zur Potentialtheorie,” in Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München (1895), 261–277, 447–500; (1898), 203–224; Spezialkatalog der mathematischen Austellung, Deutsche Unterrichtungsabteilung in Chicago (Munich, 1897); L. O. Hesse, Gesammelte Werke, ed. with S. Gundelfinger, J. Lüroth, and M. Noether (Munich, 1897); “Nova Kepleriana,” in Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 25 (1910), 1–61; 26 (1912), 1–45; 28 (1915), 1–17; 31 (1927), 1–114, written with M. Caspar; n.s. 17 (1933), 1–58, written with M. Caspar; 18 (1933), 1–58; 23 (1934), 1–88; G. von Reichenbach (Munich, 1912), a biography; and J. Kepler in seinen Briefen, 2 vols. (Munich, 1930), written with M. Caspar.

II. Secondary Literature. Obituary notices by G. Faber are in Forschungen und Fortschritte, 34 (1934), 423– 424, Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematikervereinigung, 45 (1935), 89–98, with portrait and bibliography, and Jahrbuch der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1934); an anonymous obituary is in Almanach. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 85 (1935), 269–272; see also J. E. Hofmann, in Natur und Kultur, 32 (1935), 61–63, with portrait; J. Zenneck, in Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft deutscher Naturforscher und Arzte, 11 (1935), 2–3. On his seventieth birthday see H. Schmidt, in Denkschriften der Technische Hochschule München, 1 (1926), 3–4, with portrait as a youth. On the centenary of his birth see R. Sauer, in Wissenschaftliche Vorträge, gehalten bei der akademischen Jahresfeier der Technischen Hochschule München (1957), 10–11. A short biography by G. Faber is in Neue Deutsche Biographie, IV (Berlin, 1959), 210. A bronze bust by Hermann Hahn, at the Technische Hochschule in Munich, was unveiled in 1926.

J. E. Hofmann

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