Kurt Wilhelm Sebastian Hensel (29 December 1861 – 1 June 1941) was a German mathematician born in Königsberg.

Kurt Hensel
Hensel Kurt.jpg
Kurt Wilhelm Sebastian Hensel

(1861-12-29)29 December 1861
Died1 June 1941(1941-06-01) (aged 79)
Alma materUniversity of Bonn
University of Berlin
Known forp-adic number, Hensel's lemma
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorLeopold Kronecker
Doctoral studentsJessie Forbes Cameron, Abraham Fraenkel, Helmut Hasse, Reinhold Strassmann

Life and careerEdit

Hensel was born in Königsberg, East Prussia (today Kaliningrad, Russia), the son of Julia (née von Adelson) and landowner and entrepreneur Sebastian Hensel. He was the brother of philosopher Paul Hensel. Kurt and Paul's paternal grandparents were painter Wilhelm Hensel and composer Fanny Mendelssohn. Fanny was the sister of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, daughter of Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and granddaughter of philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, and entrepreneur Daniel Itzig. Both of Hensel's grandmothers and his mother were from Jewish families that had converted to Christianity.

Hensel studied mathematics in Berlin and Bonn, under the mathematicians Leopold Kronecker and Karl Weierstrass.

Later in his life Hensel was a professor at the University of Marburg until 1930. He was also an editor of the mathematical Crelle's Journal. He edited the five-volume collected works of Leopold Kronecker.

Hensel is well known for his introduction of p-adic numbers. First described by him in 1897,[1] they became increasingly important in number theory and other fields during the twentieth century.[2]



  1. ^ Hensel, Kurt (1897). "Über eine neue Begründung der Theorie der algebraischen Zahlen". Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung. 6 (3): 83–88.
  2. ^ Rosen, Kenneth (2005). "4". In Emily Portwood and Mary Reynolds (ed.). Elementary Number Theory: and Its Applications (fifth ed.). Boston: PEARSON Addison Westley. p. 170. ISBN 0-321-23707-2.
  3. ^ Dickson, L. E. (1910). "Hensel's Theory of Algebraic Numbers". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 17 (1): 23–36. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1910-01993-5.
  4. ^ Dickson, L. E. (1914). "Review: Kurt Hensel, Zahlentheorie". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 20 (5): 258–259. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1914-02480-2.
  5. ^ Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der mathematischen Wissenschaften mit Einschluss ihrer Anwendungen

External linksEdit