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Constantinos Caratheodory's museum opened in Komotini

30 March 2009 / 12:03:30  GRReporter
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museum dedicated to Constantinos Caratheodory (1873-1950) was opened in Komotini. He was a worldwide famous Greek mathematician, who recently was included in the 100 list of all time greatest Greeks on number 12. Before him, there are names like Alexander the Great, Pericles, Aristotle, Mikis Theodorakis, Giorgios Papandreou.

A visitor of the museum can see around 10 000 pages of math notes, manuscripts, his dissertation, many research works, and copies of Caratheodory’s letters with the Nobel prize winner Albert Einstein.

According to experts from the National Archives of Israel, where the original letters between the two scientists are kept, part of Einstein’s Theory of relativity is based on the mathematic works of Caratheodory.

Constantinos Caratheodory was born in Berlin in a Greek family. He grows up in Brussels, where his father was an ambassador of the Ottoman Empire. Caratheodory’s family was extremely respected in Istanbul and its members had very high government positions. Constantinos receives his education in Belgium, Germany and Italy until the war between Greece and Turkey starts in 1897. Then, he was in a very difficult position because he took the side of the Greeks, while his father was working for the Ottomans.

Because Constantinos had a diploma in engineering, he decided to leave for Egypt, where he worked on building the levee in Asyut. This way he got the chance to visit the pyramids, where he made some measurements, later on published a book about the Great Pyramid of Giza and after that he also published a tourist guide for Egypt.

In 1919, Caratheodory develops a plan for the creation of a new Greek university, which was called the Ionian University. This university never accepts any students because the war in Anatolia starts in 1922. Today’s Aegean University is considered to be the continuation of Caratheodory’s original plan.

In 1920 he accepts the position as a professor in the University of Izmir offered to him by the Prime Minister of the time Elefterios Venizelos. He plays a very big role in establishing the institution but in 1922, all Greeks had to move out of the city because of the war. Constantinos was forced to move and live in Athens, where he takes a big part of the university library and this way he saves the book from being destroyed. Caratheodory stayed in Athens and thought in the Technical University until 1924. Then, made a professor of mathematics in the University of Munich, where he works until his death in 1950.

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