Peter Henrici (mathematician)

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Peter Karl Henrici
Peter Henrici.jpg
Peter Henrici (middle), Washington D.C. 1953
Born (1923-09-13)13 September 1923
Basel, Switzerland
Died 13 March 1987(1987-03-13) (aged 63)
Zürich, Switzerland
Nationality Switzerland
Alma mater ETH Zürich
Known for Numerical analysis
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of California, Los Angeles; ETH Zürich; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Doctoral advisor Eduard Stiefel
Doctoral students Gilbert Strang, William B. Gragg

Peter Karl Henrici (13 September 1923 – 13 March 1987) was a Swiss mathematician best known for his contributions to the field of numerical analysis.


Henrici was born in Basel and studied law for two years at University of Basel. After World War II he transferred to ETH Zürich where he received a diploma in electrical engineering (1948) and a doctorate in mathematics with Eduard Stiefel as his advisor (1952).

Moving to the USA

In 1951 he moved to the United States and worked on a joint contract with American University and the National Bureau of Standards. Then, from 1956 to 1962, he taught at University of California, Los Angeles where he became a professor. In 1962 he returned to ETH Zürich as a professor, a position he kept for the rest of his life, though he also held a part-time appointment as William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1985.[1][2]

Numerical Analyst

An internationally recognized numerical analyst, who published 11 books and more than 80 research papers, Henrici was also a gifted pianist and a highly regarded teacher.[1] He was an editor of a number of scientific journals, including Numerische Mathematik and Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Physik. In 1962, he was a speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians, and in 1978 he gave the SIAM John von Neumann Lecture.[2]

Peter Henrici Prize

Every four years since 1999, the Peter Henrici Prize is awarded by ETH Zürich and SIAM for "original contributions to applied analysis and numerical analysis and/or for exposition appropriate for applied mathematics and scientific computing".[3]


  • Henrici, Peter (1962). Discrete variable methods in ordinary differential equations. Wiley. 
  • Henrici, Peter (1963). Error propagation for difference methods. SIAM series in applied mathematics. Wiley. 
  • Henrici, Peter (1964). Elements of numerical analysis. Wiley. 
  • Henrici, Peter (1974). Applied and computational complex analysis, Volume 1: Power series—integration—conformal mapping—location of zeros. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-37244-7. 
  • Henrici, Peter (1977). Applied and computational complex analysis, Volume 2: Special functions—integral transforms—asymptotics—continued fractions. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-01525-3. 
  • Henrici, Peter (1977). Computational Analysis with the HP-25 Pocket Calculator. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-02938-6. 
  • Henrici, Peter (1986). Applied and computational complex analysis, Volume 3: Discrete Fourier analysis—Cauchy integrals—construction of conformal maps—univalent functions. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-08703-3. 


  1. ^ a b Golub, Gene H.; Varga, Richard S. (1988). "Obituary to Peter Henrici (13 September 1923 – 13 March 1987)". Numerische Mathematik. 52 (5): 481–482. doi:10.1007/BF01400886. 
  2. ^ a b O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Peter K. Henrici", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  3. ^ "Peter Henrici Prize (with ETH Zurich)". Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 

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