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Alfred Tarski (January 14, 1901 – October 26, 1983), born Alfred Teitelbaum, a Polish-American logician and mathematician of Polish-Jewish descent.
He studied at the University of Warsaw and was a student at the Lwow–Warsaw school of logic and the Warsaw school of mathematics in 1939, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1945.
Tarski supervised and carried out mathematics research at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1942 to 1983, a prolific scholar best known for his contributions to abstract algebra, metamathematics, and algebraic logic, as well as analytic philosophy. "Along with his colleague, Kurt Gödel, he changed the face of logic in the twentieth century, particularly through his research on truth and model theory."
Alfred Tarski was born in Poland, "Tajtelbaum"), to parents who were Polish Jews in good circumstances. He first demonstrated his mathematical abilities during secondary school at Warsaw's Szkoo Mazowiecka. Nonetheless, he enrolled in 1918, intending to study biology.
Warsaw University came under the direction of Jan ukasiewicz, Stanisaw Lerpi, and the philosophy of mathematics after Poland regained independence in 1918. Leniewski recognised Tarski's potential as a mathematician and encouraged him to forget biology. Tarski completed a doctorate under Leo Leniewski's tuterland, and Sierpi, Stefan Mazurkiewicz, and Tadeusz Kotarbiski, until 1924, becoming the first person to complete a doctorate under Leniewski's supervision. (On the Primitive Term Logistic; 1923) O wyrazie logistyki (On the Primitive Term Logistic; a thesis was published 1923). Tarski and Leniewski were soon cool to each other. Tarski reserved his warmest praise for Kotarbiski in later life, which was reciprocated.
Alfred Teitelbaum and his brother Wacn changed their surname to "Tarski" in 1923. The Tarski brothers converted to Roman Catholicism, Poland's most widespread faith. And though Alfred was an avowed atheist, he did so.
Tarski taught logic at the Polish Pedagogical Institute, mathematics, and logic at the University, as the university's youngest student to complete a doctorate, as well as acting as a UK assistant. Tarski taught mathematics at a Warsaw secondary school, earning the position as a result of low pay; before World War II, it was not unprecedented for European intellectuals of research caliber to teach high school. Hence, Tarski not only wrote numerous textbooks and some papers, a few of which were ground-breaking, but also taught high-school mathematics between 1923 and 1939. Maria Witkowska, a Pole of Catholic origins, married Tarski in 1929. In the Polish-Soviet War, she had served as a courier for the army. They had two children; a son Jan, who became a physicist, and a daughter Ina who married mathematician Andrzej Ehrenfeucht.
Tarski applied for a chair of philosophy at Lwów University, but Bertrand Russell's nomination was rewarded to Leon Chwistek. Tarski went to the University of Vienna, lectured to Karl Menger's colloquium, and met Kurt Gödel in 1930. He was able to return to Vienna in 1935 to work with Menger's research group thanks to a fellowship. At the first meeting of the Unity of Science movement, an outgrowth of the Vienna Circle, he traveled from Vienna to Paris to present his truth. Tarski applied for a chair at Pozna University in 1937, but it was denied. Tarski's ties to the Unity of Science movement may have saved his life, as a result of his being invited to address the Unity of Science Congress, which took place in September 1939 at Harvard University. He left Poland in August 1939, on the last ship to sail from Poland into the United States before the German and Soviet invasion of Poland and the outbreak of World War II. Tarski resigned reluctantly after Leniewski had died just a few months earlier, leaving Tarski with a vacancy that Tarski was eager to fill. He left his wife and children in Warsaw, oblivious to the Nazi menace. He didn't see them again until 1946. Almost all of his Jewish extended family members were killed by the German occupying authorities during the war.
Tarski worked in the United States for several years: City College of New York (1940), and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1942), where he met Gödel. Tarski first joined the Mathematics Department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he spent the remainder of his career. In 1945, Tarski became an American citizen. Despite being an emeritus from 1968, he taught Ph.D. candidates until 1973 and then supervised Ph.D. candidates until his death. Tarski, a Berkeley professor, has a reputation as a dynamic and demanding tutor, as shown by many observers: he became known as a gifted and demanding instructor.
Tarski supervised twenty-four Ph.D. dissertations, including those of Andrzej Mostowski, Bjarni Jónsson, Julia Robinson, Robert Vaught, Solomon Feferman, Robert Vaught, Aaron Bennett, Richard Montague, James Pyra, Matthew Lamb, David Watson, Robert Vaugh, Richard Montague, Joseph Murdoch, Donald Pigozzi, and Roger Maddux, as well as Chen Chung Chang and Jerome Keisler, the field's Alfred Lindenbaum, Dana Scott, and Steven Givant's dissertations were also heavily influenced by him. Five of Tarski's students were female, a remarkable finding considering that the overwhelming majority of graduate students at the time were male. However, he had extra-marital affairs with at least two of these students. The colleague revealed it himself after he showed another of his female students' jobs to a male colleague, prompting her to abandon the graduate program and pursue a different college and a new advisor.
Tarski taught at University College, London (1950-66), Henri Poincaré in Paris (1955), the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science in Berkeley (1958–60), and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (1974–75). Tarski was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences, the British Academy, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1958, as well as the Berkeley Citation in 1981, among many awards accumulated over his career. Tarski presided over the Association for Symbolic Logic, 1944–46, and the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science, 1956–57. He served as Algebra Universalis' honorary editor.