Hurewicz was born in Lodz, Russian Poland, in 1904. He was educated in Vienna under the tutelage of Hans Hahn and Karl Manger and received his Ph.D. in 1926. After a stint in Amsterdam (eight years), he traveled to America and decided to remain there. He accepted an offer to work at a school in North Carolina and went on to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Hurewicz's research was mainly concerned with set theory and topology, but he is primarily associated with his discovery of exact sequences. He is also credited with "setting the stage" for homological algebra. Hurewicz had a fairly short academic career. During a conference side trip in Uxmal, Mexico, in 1956, he fell off a pyramid and died.