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Cornelius Lanczos (1893–1974)

Cornelius Lanczos 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 Study.

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.

Tape 1: Lanczos about Mathematics Tape 2: Lanczos about his life Tape 3: About Albert Einstein
Childhood and Education in Hungary
Student in Budapest
Graduation and research assistant, allegations against Jews
Emigration to Germany, research assistant in Freiburg and Frankfurt
Assistant of Albert Einstein in Berlin, antisemitism in Germany
Assistant professor at Purdue University
Lectures on Hamiltonian dynamics and approximation methods
Consultant at Nat. Bur. Standards and researcher at Boeing
Institute for Numerical Analysis in Los Angeles and the McCarthy Era
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Click here to read Cornelius Lanczos' biography on Wikipedia