Sunday, January 29, 2017

What kind of articles can you find in Crelle's Journal?

Crelle's Journal, or Crelle for short, has published notable papers in mathematics. The journal was founded in 1826 in Berlin by the German road and railway engineer August Leopold Crelle (1780-1855, or 1856?), who was eager to promote mathematics in Germany [1]. Crelle became the Journal für reine und angewandte Mathematik (Journal for Pure and Applied Mathematics). It is still published today and “insiders” keep referring to the journal using the informal titles Crelle or Crelle's Journal.

Crelle advanced to a leading mathematical publication in Germany and worldwide. Articles are in German, English or French. The success derives not only from the journal's visionary founder and editor, but from the early, pioneering contributors including the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829) and the Swiss geometer Jacob Steiner (1796-1863).

The Scottish-born mathematician and science fiction writer Eric Temple Bell (1883-1960) summarizes the Abel-Crelle-Crelle relationship as follows: “If Crelle helped to make Abel's reputation, Abel more than paid for the help by making Crelle's.”

In a letter that Abel sent from Berlin home to his tutor and friend Holmboe in Christiana (now Oslo), he mentions the “fantastic help and support Crelle provided” [2]. Abel got access to Crelle's scientific and social circles in Berlin. Today, Abel is best known for his work proving that no general algebraic solution exists for the roots of a quintic equation. He published his original mathematical research in Crelle, initiating his own and the journal's fame. In the detailed account on Abel and his Times, Arild Stubhaug (born 1948) writes [3]:

Abel wrote six brilliant papers that were published in the first issues [of Crelle's Journal] that came out in 1826, the first appearing in February of that year. It was also widely acknowledged that due to Abel's contributions, the journal rapidly achieved renown. Most of Abel's work were published in Crelle's Journal, and if it had not been for this publication, it would not be easy to see how Abel could have gained inspiration for his further work.

[1] August Leopold Crelle (for example, see,,%20August%20Leopold.pdf and the following reference).
[2] Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1937; p. 315.
[3] Arild Stubhaug (translated from the Norwegian by Richard H. Daly): Niels Henrik Abel and his Times. Springer-Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, 2000; pp. 331.