Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Signed, sealed, and delivered," by Marcus Chown. New Scientist, 14 July 2001,pages 46-47.

This article tells the story of Wolfgang Doeblin, German-born Jewishmathematician who fled to France to escape the Nazis in 1936. At age 23, whileserving in the French army, he made some extraordinary mathematical discoveriesabout random phenomena. These ideas became known to the world only in the1950s, when they were discovered independently by the Japanese mathematicianKiyoshi Ito. Doeblin scribbled his ideas in a school exercise book, whichafter his death in the war was filed in a sealed envelope at the French Academyof Sciences. The envelope was finally opened in May 2000 by Doeblin's brother.

--- Allyn Jackson