• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0080

Neumann, Hanna

(1914 – 1971)
  • Nationality Germany
  • Born 12 February, 1914, Lankwitz, Berlin Germany
  • Died 14 November, 1971, Ottawa Canada
  • Occupation Mathematician


Hanna Neumann was Professor and Head of the Department of Pure Mathematics, School of General Studies, Australian National University from 1964-71. Previously she worked as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Hull and University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 1946-63.

Neumann became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1969.


Neumann completed her D. Phil. At Oxford in 1944. She typed her thesis on a card table by a haystack when the weather permitted. Much of it was written in a caravan by candlelight. This was the only accommodation she could find in Oxford during World War Two.
She completed her education in Germany, at the Auguste-Viktoria-Schule and the University of Berlin. In 1938 she joined her fiancé, Bernhard Hermann Neumann in Britain. A Jewish refugee from Germany, he held a lectureship in mathematics at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff. They were married on 22 December 1938 and went on to have five children.
In Australia as Professor of Pure mathematics at the Australian National University, she quickly became involved with secondary school teachers in the implementation of the mathematics syllabus for the Wyndham scheme in New South Wales. Together with a colleague in the first term of 1964, they ran a once-a-week course for teachers entitled ‘The language of sets in school mathematics’. She maintained a direct involvement with secondary teachers of mathematics for the rest of her life.
Her own research was focused mainly on group theory; on problems related to free products with amalgamations, embeddings and varieties of groups. In her entry for the Australian Dictionary of Biography Kenneth Fowler stated that ‘she found joy and beauty in the study of mathematics’.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • Adolph Basser Library
    • Hanna Neumann Collection

Related entries

  • Related Concepts
    • Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science