Sierpinski,Waclaw (1888-1969). *Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers*.

Printed in Warszawa by Panstwowe Wydnwnictwo Naukowe, 1958. Polska Akademia Nauk Monografie Matematyczne, Tom 34. First Edition. 2 leaves, 487 pages. In the original cloth in fine condition, with the original dustjacket, which is in Good-to-Very Good condition. $300.

'Sierpinski's most important work . . . was in set theory, and in 1908 he was the first to teach a systematic course on that subject. He investigated set theory and related domains . . . for fifty years. . . . The most important of his books and monographs on set theory are* Hypothèse du continu* (1934) and *Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers *(1958)' (*Dictionary of Scientific Biography*, vol XII: 426).

Sierpinski (the author of 724 papers and 50 books) led a rather remarkable life, not the least of which was his experience in Warsaw from 1939-1945, which in 1944 saw his house burned and his library and papers and manuscripts all destroyed. He at least survived--there were many others with whom Sierpinski taught and with whom he was associated who didn't. Quoting from the St. Andrews history of mathematics site, Sierpinski recounted the number of academics murdered during this time:

In July1941one of my oldest students Stanislaw Ruziewicz was murdered. He was a retired professor of Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov ... an outstanding mathematician and an excellent teacher. In1943one of my most distinguished students Stanislaw Saks was murdered. He was an assistant professor at Warsaw University, one of the leading experts in the world in the theory of the integral... In1942another student of mine, Adolf Lindenbaum was murdered. He was an assistant professor at Warsaw University and a distinguished author of works on set theory.

Thus more than half of the mathematicians who lectured in our academic schools were killed. It was a great loss for Polish mathematics which was developing favourably in some fields such as set theory and topology ... In addition to the lamented personal losses Polish mathematics suffered because of German barbarity during the war, it also suffered material losses. They burned down Warsaw University Library which contained several thousand volumes, magazines, mathematical books and thousands of reprints of mathematical works by different authors. Nearly all the editions of Fundamenta Mathematicae(32volumes)and ten volumes of Mathematical Monograph were completely burned. Private libraries of all the four professors of mathematics from Warsaw University and also quite a number of manuscripts of their works and handbooks written during the war were burnt too.

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