Richard von Mises

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Richard von Mises.

Richard Edler von Mises (Lemberg 19 April 1883 - Boston, 14 July 1953) was a scientist who worked on fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, aeronautics, statistics and probability theory.

or, in his own words shortly before his death, on

"practical analysis, integral and differential equations, mechanics, hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, constructive geometry, probability calculus, statistics and philosophy (" (in the line of neo-positivist Ernst Mach).

Historians of the "Vienna Circle" of "logical empiricism" which developed in the1920s recognize a "first phase" from 1907 through 1914 with Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath and Mises. In Istanbul, Mises maintained close contact with Philipp Frank who was a Professor of Physics in Prague until 1938. His literary interests included the Austrian novelist Robert Musil and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, on whom he became a recognized expert (

The son of Arthur Edler von Mises, a Doctor of technical sciences who worked as an expert for the Austrian State Railways and Adele von Landau, he was born in Lemberg in Austria-Hungary (now Lviv, Ukraine), 18 months after his brother the towering economist Ludwig von Mises (they also had a younger brother, who died as an infant.). He attended the Akademische ( Gymnasium ( in Vienna where he graduated with honors in Latin and mathematics in Autumn 1901. After graduating in mathematics, physics and engineering from the Vienna Technische Hochschule ( (Technical University), he was appointed as Georg Hamel ('s assistant in Brünn (now Brno). In 1905, still a student, he published an article on "Zur konstruktiven Infinitesimalgeometrie der ebenen Kurven," in the prestigious Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik. In 1908 Mises was awarded a doctorate from Vienna (dissertation on Die Ermittlung der Schwungmassen im Schubkurbelgetriebe — The determination of flywheel masses in crank drives) and he received his habilitation from Brünn (on Theorie der Wasserräder — Theory of the Waterwheels), to lecture on engineering. In 1909, at 26, he was appointed Professor of applied mathematics in Straßburg (now Strasbourg, then in the German empire) and received Prussian citizenship — while applying for teaching positions ( at the Technical ( University ( in Brünn, and this was interrupted by World War I.

A pilot who had lectured on the design of aircraft and given in Straßburg the first university course on powered flight in 1913, he then joined the Austro-Hungarian army, flew as a test pilot and an instructor and in 1915, supervised the construction of a 600-horsepower plane — the "Mises-Flugzeug“ (Mises aircraft) for the Austrian army. Completed in 1916, it never saw action.

After the war Mises held the new chair of hydrodynamics and aerodynamics at the Dresden Technische Hochschule. Then in 1919 he was appointed director with full professorship of the new Institute of Applied Mathematics created at the behest of Erhard Schmidt ( at the University of Berlin. In 1921 he founded the journal Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik ( and became its editor.

With the rise of the Nazi party to power in 1933, von Mises — who was a Roman Catholic but had Jewish ancestry felt his position threatened though he had fought in the war and moved to Turkey where he held the newly created chair of Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Istanbul, and then in 1939, amid political uncertainty following the death of Turkish President Atatürk, to the United States, where he was appointed in 1944 Gordon-McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He married Hilda Geiringer ( in 1943; his assistant at the Institute, she had followed him to Turkey after losing her position in December 1933, and then to the US.

In1950 Mises declined an offer of honorary membership from the Communist-dominated East German Academy of Science.

In aerodynamics, Richard von Mises made notable advances in boundary-layer-flow theory and airfoil design

He developed the Distortion energy theory of stress, which is one of the most important concepts used by engineers in material strength calculations.

On probability — he posed the well-known "birthday problem" ( his ideas were not unanimously received. Aleksander Ostrowski  ( who had said of him:

"Only with the appointment of Richard von Mises to the University of Berlin did the first serious German school of applied mathematics with a broad sphere of influence come into existence. Von Mises was an incredibly dynamic person and at the same time amazingly versatile like Runge ( He was especially well versed in the realm of technology."

also wrote:

"Because of his dynamic personality his occasional major blunders were somehow tolerated. One has even forgiven him his theory of probability."

Yet Kolmogorov, whose rival axiomatisation was better received, was less severe:

"The basis for the applicability of the results of the mathematical theory of probability to real 'random phenomena' must depend on some form of the frequency concept of probability, the unavoidable nature of which has been established by von Mises in a spirited manner."

The Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik ( (International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics) has awarded a Richard von Mises-Preis ( (Price) since 1989.


Bibliographical references

Biography in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York, 1970-1990.

Biography ( in Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Books by date of publication

Richard von Mises, Philipp Frank, Heinrich Weber; Bernhard Riemann, Die Differential- und Integralgleichungen der Mechanik und Physik (, 1925, 1930.

Richard von Mises, Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung und ihre Anwendungen in der Statistik und theoretischen Physik, 1931.

Richard von Mises, The critical external pressure of cylindrical tubes under uniform radial and axial load (, (Translation of Kritischer Außendruck zylindrischer Rohre, 1917), U.S. Experimental Model Basin, Navy Yard, 1933.

Richard von Mises, P. Frank, H. Weber and B. Riemann, Die Differential- und Integralgleichungen der Mechanik und Physik, 2nd expanded. ed., 2 vols. New York, Mary S.Rosenberg: 1943.

Richard von Mises, W. Prager and G. Kuerti, Theory of Flight, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1945.

Richard Von Mises, Rilke in English,: A tentative bibliography (, The Cosmos press, 1947

Richard von Mises, Notes on mathematical theory of compressible fluid flow (, Harvard University, Graduate School of Engineering, 1948.

Richard von Mises, On Bergman's integration method in two-dimensional compressible fluid flow (, Harvard University, Graduate School of Engineering, 1949.

Richard von Mises, On the thickness of a steady shock wave (, Harvard University, Dept. of Engineering, 1951

Presented to Richard von Mises by Friends, Colleagues and Pupils, Studies in Mathematics and Mechanics, New York, 1954.

Richard von Mises, Positivism: A Study in Human Understanding (, G. Braziller, 1956 (Paperback (, Dover, 1968).

Richard von Mises, Mathematical Theory of Compressible Fluid Flow ( New York, Academic Press, 1958.

Richard von Mises, Theory of Flight (, New York, Dover, 1959.

Richard von Mises, Selected Papers of Richard von Mises, 2 volumes, AMS, Rhode Island, 1963, 1964.

Richard von Mises, Mathematical Theory of Probability and Statistics, New York, Academic Press, 1964.

Richard von Mises, Probability and Statistics, General (, American Mathematical Society, 1964.

Heinrich Sequenz ed. 150 Jahre Technische Hochschule in Wien. 1815–1965, Festschrift in 3 Volumes, Springer Verlag, Wien, New York, 1965, .

Richard von Mises and K. O. Friedrichs, Fluid Dynamics (, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1971.

M. Pinl & L. Furtmüller, Mathematicians under Hitler, In Year Book XVIII of the Leo Baeck Institute, London, 1973.

Richard von Mises, Theodore Von Karman, Advances in Applied Mechanics (, Academic Press, 1975

W. Roeder & H. A. Strauss, International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933–1945, Saur, München, New York, London, Paris, 1980–1983.

Richard von Mises, Probability, Statistics and Truth (, 2nd rev. English ed., New York, Dover, 1981.

Richard von Mises, Kleines Lehrbuch des Positivismus. Einführung in die empiristische Wissenschaftsauffassung (, Suhrkamp, 1990.

Richard von Mises, Wolfgang Gröbner, Wolfgang Pauli, Österreichische Mathematik und Physik (, Die Zentralbibliothek, 1993.

Robert Winter, Das Akademische Gymnasium in Wien. Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, Wien, Köln, Weimar 1996.

R. Siegmund-Schultze, Mathematiker auf der Flucht vor Hitler. Quellen und Studien zur Emigration einer Wissenschaft, Braunschweig und Wiesbaden, Vieweg, 1998.

Articles by alphabetical order of authors

A Basch, "Richard von Mises zum 70. Geburtstag", Osterreich. Ing.-Arch. 7, 1953, pp. 73-76.

B. Bernhardt, "Skizzen zu Leben und Werk von Richard Mises", in Österreichische Mathematik und Physik, Wien, Zentralbibliothek für Physik, 1993, pp. 51–62.

H Bernhardt, "Zum Leben und Wirken des Mathematikers Richard von Mises", NTM Schr. Geschichte Natur. Tech. Medizin 16 (2), 1979, pp. 40-49.

G Birkhoff, "Richard von Mises' years at Harvard", Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik 63 (7), 1983, pp. 283-284.

L Collatz, "Richard von Mises als numerischer Mathematiker", Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (7), 1983, pp. 278-280.

H Cramér, "Richard von Mises' work in probability and statistics", Ann. Math. Statistics 24, 1953), pp. 657-662.

D.v. Dalen, "The War of the Frogs and the Mice or the Crisis of the 'Mathematische Annalen'", The Mathematical Intelligencer 12 (1990), No.4, pp. 17-31.

H Föllmer and K Küchler, "Richard von Mises", in Mathematics in Berlin, Berlin, 1998, pp. 55-60.

J Förste, "Zum 100: Geburtstag von Richard von Mises", Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik 63 (7), 1983, p. 277.

P Frank, "The work of Richard von Mises: 1883-1953", Science 119, 1954, pp. 823-824.

Haussner, A, "Geschichte der Deutschen Technischen Hochschule in Brünn 1849–1924." In Festschrift der Deutschen Technischen Hochschule in Brünn zur Feier ihres fünfundsiebzigjährigen Bestandes im Mai 1924, Verlag der Deutschen Technischen Hochschule, Brünn, 1924, pp. 5–92.

G S S Ludford, "Mechanics in the applied- mathematical world of von Mises", Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik 63 (7), 1983, pp. 281-282.

R. v. Mises, "Zur konstruktiven Infinitesimalgeometrie der ebenen Kurven," Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik, 52, 1905, pp. 44–85.

R. v. Mises, "Zur Theorie der Regulatoren", Elektrotechnik und Maschinenbau 37, 1908, pp. 783–789.

R Sauer, "Nachruf : Richard von Mises", Bayer. Akad. Wiss. Jbuch. 1953, pp.194-197.

R Sauer, "Richard von Mises 19. 4. 1883 - 14. 7. 1953" (in German), Bayer. Akad. Wiss. Jbuch. 1953, pp. 194-197

R Siegmund-Schultze, Hilda Geiringer von Mises, Charlier Series, "Ideology, and the human side of the emancipation of applied mathematics at the University of Berlin during the 1920s", Historia Mathematica 20, 1993, 364-381.

P. Sisma, "Georg Hamel and Richard von Mises in Brno", Historia Mathematica, 29, 2002, pp. 176–192.

A Szafarz, "Richard von Mises : l'échec d'une axiomatique", Dialectica 38 (4), 1984, pp. 311-317.

M. van Lambalgen, "Randomness and foundations of probability : von Mises' axiomatisation of random sequences", in Statistics, probability and game theory, Hayward, CA, 1996, pp. 347-367.

Weinhold, J., "Zur Geschichte der Deutschen Technischen Hochschule in Brünn, Rückblicke und Vergleiche", Südetendeutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste, Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, 1991, pp. 372–450.

External link


Template:German title Edlerde:Richard von Mises ja:リヒャルト・フォン・ミーゼス pl:Richard von Mises


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