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Adolf Abraham Halevi Fraenkel
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Adolf Abraham Halevi Fraenkel

Adolf Abraham Halevi Fraenkel (February 17 1891 - October 15 1965) was a German / Israeli mathematician.

Born in Munich, Germany on February 17 1891, Fraenkel studiet mathematics at the University of Munich, University of Berlin, University of Marburg and University of Breslau; after graduating, he lectured at the University of Marburg from 1916 on, and was promoted to professor in 1922.

Fraenkel left Marburg six years later, in 1928; after a year of teaching at the University of Kiel, he moved to Jerusalem in 1929, four years after the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's founding, where he spent the rest of his career. He became the first dean of the faculty of mathematics and also served as the rector of the university for a while.

Fraenkel's first work was on Hensel's p-adic numbers and on the theory of rings; he is, however, most well-known for his work on axiomatic set theory, publishing his first major work on the topic ("Einleitung in die Mengenlehre") in 1919. He made two attempts in 1922 and 1925 to put set theory into an axiomatic setting without paradoxes, improving Zermelo's axiomatic system and creating the Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms, and formally proved the independence of the axiom of choice from those.

Fraenkel also was interested in the history of mathematics; he wrote about Gauss' works in algebra in 1920 and 1930, and published a biography of Georg Cantor, and published the journal Jewish mathematics and astronomy in 1960; after retiring and being succeeded by his former student Robinson at the Hebrew University, Fraenkel continued teaching at the Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

He died on October 15 1965 in Jerusalem, Israel.