Cornelius Lanczos (1893–1974)
We are delighted to make available online a
series of video tapes produced in 1972. These historic tapes show Cornelius Lanczos talking
about his fascinating and restless life as (among other things) student of Eötvös and Fejér
in Hungary, theoretical physicist, assistant of Albert Einstein in Germany, numerical analyst
and inventor of the tau method, (re-)discoverer of the fast Fourier transform and singular value
decomposition, inventor of the Lanczos algorithm while working at the US National Bureau of
Standards, and head of the Theoretical Physics Department at the Dublin Institute for Advanced
In the last years of his long life Lanczos gave excellent lectures at UMIST (a predecessor
institution of The University of Manchester), and apparently it was Ronald Butler who initiated
the recording of these video tapes. The first tape (55 minutes) is devoted to Lanczos' views on
mathematics and his contributions to numerical analysis.
The second tape (45 minutes) is autobiographical, and the third tape (54 minutes) contains a
discussion about the life and work of Albert Einstein.
Click here to read Cornelius Lanczos' biography on Wikipedia