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Besicovitch, Abram Samoilovitch (1891–1970), mathematician, was born at Berdyansk, on the Sea of Azov, on 24 January 1891, the fourth child of the family of four sons and two daughters of Samoil Abramovitch Besicovitch and his wife, Eva Ilinichna Sauskan. The family was descended from Karaite Jews, a breakaway sect who accepted the written but not the oral Jewish tradition. ...

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Brodetsky, Selig (1888–1954), mathematician and Zionist leader, was born on 5 July 1888 at Olviopol, a small town in Ukraine 100 miles north of Odessa, the second son among the thirteen children of Akiva Brodetsky (1864–1942), a synagogue official, and his wife, Adel Prober (1864–1926)...

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Bronowski, Jacob (1908–1974), mathematician, poet, and humanist, was born on 18 January 1908 in Łódź, Poland, the first of the three children of Abram Bronowski, haberdasher, and his wife, Celia Flatto. During the First World War the family lived in Germany, and in 1920 they moved to ...

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Jacob Bronowski (1908–1974) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Daniels, Henry Ellis (1912–2000), statistician, was born on 2 October 1912 in London, the second child of Morris Daniels (1889–1953), a salesman, and his wife, Hannah, née Goldberg (1890–1959). His was a Jewish family of Russian (partly Polish and partly Lithuanian) origin. When he was two the family moved to join the Lithuanian branch in ...

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Devons, Ely (1913–1967), statistician and economist, was born in Bangor, north Wales, on 29 July 1913, the second eldest in a family of three boys and three girls of David Isaac Devons, a Jewish minister from Vilna who had arrived in Britain in 1902 on a Russian passport at the age of twenty-one, and his wife, ...

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Ehrenberg, Andrew Samuel Christopher (1926–2010), statistician and marketing scientist, was born in Bochum, Germany, on 1 May 1926 into a remarkably talented Jewish family. His father, the Revd Hans Philip Ehrenberg (1883–1958), was the outspoken pastor of Pauluskirche in Bochum at the time of the Nazis' seizure of power, one of the co-founders of the ...

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Erdélyi [formerly Diamand], Arthur (1908–1977), mathematician, was born on 2 October 1908 in Budapest, the eldest of the five children (three sons and two daughters) of Ignác József Ármin Diamand, a shoe merchant, and his wife, Frederike (Frieda) Roth. After his father's death his mother married ...

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Arthur Erdélyi (1908–1977) by I. N. Sneddon, 1973 courtesy of D. S. Jones, F.R.S.

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Gompertz, Benjamin (1779–1865), mathematician and actuary, was born on 5 March 1779 at 3 Bury Street in the City of London, the fourth of five sons of Solomon Barent Gompertz (1729–1807/8), a successful diamond merchant, and his second wife, Leah Cohen (1747×9–1809). His mother was Dutch by birth, the daughter of ...

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Heilbronn, Hans Arnold (1908–1975), mathematician, was born on 8 October 1908 in Berlin, the son of Alfred Heilbronn, timber merchant, and his wife, Gertrud. His parents were cousins, of Jewish descent; their surname (after a town in Baden-Württemberg) was not infrequent among Jews and suggests that the family was resident in ...

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Hilton, Peter John (1923–2010), code breaker and mathematician, was born at 34 Castletown Road, West Kensington, London, on 7 April 1923, the son of Mortimer Jacob Hilton (1893/4–1959), a physician and surgeon who practised in Peckham, south London, and his wife, Elizabeth Amelia, ...

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Jowell, Sir Roger Mark (1942–2011), social statistician, was born on 26 March 1942 in Cape Town, South Africa, the younger son of Jack Jowell (1906–1991), director of a company making ladies' clothing, and his wife, Emily, née Katzenellenbogen (1909–2000). His family were Jewish although ...

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Kahn, Franz Daniel (1926–1998), astrophysicist and mathematician, was born on 13 May 1926 in Nuremberg, Germany, the only son and the younger child of Siegfried Kahn (1894–1967), a company director, and his wife, Grete, née Mann (1896–1980). His parents were German Jews; his father was a successful manufacturer of children's toys. In 1938 the family moved to ...

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Lanczos, Cornelius [formerly Kornél Löwy] (1893–1974), mathematician and mathematical physicist, was born on 2 February 1893 in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, the first of four children born to lawyer Károly Löwy (1854–1939) and his wife, Adél Hahn. Lanczos attended a Jewish elementary school and graduated from the local Catholic school in 1910. From 1911 he studied at the ...

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Levi, Leone (1821–1888), jurist, political economist, and statistician, was born on 6 June 1821 in Ancona, later part of the kingdom of Italy. He came from a middle-class Jewish family. His father, Isaac, and his elder brother were both merchants. Leone received a practical, commercial education and began working for his brother at the age of fifteen. He travelled to ...

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Leone Levi (1821–1888) by Elliott & Fry, 1873 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mahler, Kurt (1903–1988), mathematician, was born on 26 July 1903 in Krefeld in the Prussian Rhineland, with his twin sister, Hilde (d. 1934), the youngest of the eight children of Hermann Mahler (1855–1941) and his wife, Henriette, née Stern (1860–1942). Both parents were from the Jewish community; his father, a printer, owned a small business. The four oldest children died before ...

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Kurt Mahler (1903–1988) by Walter Stoneman, 1948 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Rado, Richard (1906–1989), mathematician, was born on 28 April 1906 in Berlin, the second son of Leopold Rado from Budapest. He studied at the University of Berlin, and also spent some time in Göttingen. He took a DPh at Berlin with a thesis described as a 'mathematical jewel' (...