George Brauer

In Memoriam

George Brauer passed away on July 31, 2013. A memorial service was held for him on September 27 in the Mathematics Department Library, attended by many from the department and also some family members. His brother Fred Brauer who is also a mathematician, now retired from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, provided fascinating insight into their earlier life. George was born on March 18, 1927 in Königsberg, Germany. His father was Richard Brauer, one of the giants of twentieth century algebra, and his mother was also a mathematician. According to his brother, George did not have an easy time at school in Königsberg, where he was bullied. Things were not made easier when their father was dismissed from his position at Königsberg in the Spring 1933 and came to the United States to take up a position at the University of Kentucky for the year 1933-4. The rest of the family followed a few months later in 1934. George then experienced a number of moves in a short time, going to Princeton for the year 1934-5 and then Toronto from 1935 onwards. Fred reported that George had a hard time in school during all this. Richard Brauer took up a position at the University of Michigan in 1948, and it was at this university that George took his Ph.D, in 1954. He then immediately came to the University of Minnesota where he taught until he retired in 1996.

Everyone who spoke at his memorial service recalled that those who got to know George found him to be the nicest person you could hope to meet. They reminisced about his individual habits and style, which were indeed memorable. Several speakers mentioned that there had been an article in the Minnesota Daily at one point about George's office, illustrated by a photograph showing his desk under a pile of papers several feet high, this aspect being so remarkable that it merited the article. Less well known to those in the department were George's activities as a volunteer, especially after he retired. He volunteered every Wednesday at the University Retired Volunteer Center, and his job there was to match people who were available to tasks they might do, which he did by telephoning the people.

George was surely one of the department's more individual characters. He was a kind and considerate person who cannot be replaced.

Additional Information

George Brauer's archived website

Memorial Photo Gallery 

Memorial Pamphlet