**Joseph Henry Maclagan Wedderburn** (2 February 1882 Forfar,

Angus,

Scotland â€“ 9 October 1948,

Princeton, New Jersey) was a Scottish mathematician, who taught at

Princeton University for most of his career. A significant

algebraist, he proved that a finite

division algebra is a

field, and part of the

Artinâ€“Wedderburn theorem on

simple algebras. He also worked on

group theory and

matrix algebra.

## Life

Joseph Wedderburn was the tenth of 14 children of Alexander Wedderburn, a physician, and Anne Ogilvie. In 1898, he entered the

University of Edinburgh. In 1903, he published his first three papers, worked as an assistant in the Physical Laboratory of the University, and obtained an M.A. degree with

First Class Honours in mathematics.

He then studied briefly at the

University of Leipzig and the

University of Berlin, where he met the algebraists

Frobenius and

Schur. A

Carnegie Scholarship allowed him to spend the 1904-1905 academic year at the

University of Chicago where he worked with

Oswald Veblen,

E. H. Moore, and most importantly,

Leonard Dickson, who was to become the most important American algebraist of his day.

Returning to Scotland in 1905, Wedderburn worked for four years at the

University of Edinburgh as an assistant to

George Chrystal, who supervised his D.Sc, awarded in 1908 for a thesis titled

*On Hypercomplex Numbers*. From 1906 to 1908, Wedderburn edited the

*Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society*. In 1909, he returned to the United States to become a...

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