Erich Hecke (20 September 1887 – 13 February 1947) was a German mathematician known for his work in number theory and the theory of modular forms.

Erich Hecke
Erich Hecke.jpg
Erich Hecke, date unknown
Born(1887-09-20)20 September 1887
Died13 February 1947(1947-02-13) (aged 59)
Alma materUniversity of Göttingen
Known forHecke algebra
Hecke operator
AwardsAckermann–Teubner Memorial Award (1938)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Basel
University of Göttingen
University of Hamburg
Doctoral advisorDavid Hilbert
Notable studentsKurt Reidemeister
Heinrich Behnke
Hans Petersson


Hecke was born in Buk, Province of Posen, German Empire (now Poznań, Poland).[1] He obtained his doctorate in Göttingen under the supervision of David Hilbert.[2]

Kurt Reidemeister and Heinrich Behnke were among his students.[2]

In 1933 Hecke signed the Loyalty Oath of German Professors to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist State, but was later known as being opposed to the Nazis.[3]

Hecke died in Copenhagen, Denmark.[4]

André Weil, in the foreword to his text Basic Number Theory[5] says: "To improve upon Hecke, in a treatment along classical lines of the theory of algebraic numbers, would be a futile and impossible task", referring to Hecke's book "Lectures on the Theory of Algebraic Numbers."[6]


His early work included establishing the functional equation for the Dedekind zeta function, with a proof based on theta functions. The method extended to the L-functions associated to a class of characters now known as Hecke characters or idele class characters; such L-functions are now known as Hecke L-functions. He devoted most of his research to the theory of modular forms, creating the general theory of cusp forms (holomorphic, for GL(2)), as it is now understood in the classical setting.


He was a Plenary Speaker of the ICM in 1936 in Oslo.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "hecke, erich".
  2. ^ a b Erich Hecke at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Segal, Sanford L. (2003). Mathematicians under the Nazis. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. p. 439-442. ISBN 978-0-691-00451-8.
  4. ^ "Hecke, Erich". ENCYCLOPEDIA.
  5. ^ Weil, André (1974). Basic number theory. Berlin, Heidelberg. ISBN 978-3-642-61945-8. OCLC 851746156.
  6. ^ Hecke, Erich (1981). Lectures on the theory of algebraic numbers. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-90595-2. OCLC 7576150.
  7. ^ Hecke, Erich (1937). "Neuere Fortschritte in der Theorie der elliptischen Modulfunktionen". In: Comptes rendus du Congrès international des mathématiciens: Oslo, 1936. Vol. 1. pp. 140–156.

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