MATH+ Mourns the Loss of Martin Aigner

On 11th October 2023, Professor Martin Aigner passed away at the age of 82. Berlin mathematics has lost a highly respected colleague and wonderful person.

Born in Linz (Austria), Martin Aigner studied mathematics at Universität Wien. After he received his doctorate in 1965, he spent time on postdoctoral positions in the United States, e.g. at UNC Chapel Hill. He returned to Germany and went to Universität Tübingen, from which he got his “Habilitation” in mathematics in 1972. In 1973 he came to FU Berlin as Chair of Discrete Mathematics. It was in this role that he shaped the Berlin mathematics landscape significantly. He was a key figure in developing the identity of the Institute of Mathematics at FU. He helped to establish computer science as a department at FU Berlin and initiated the first of a long row of DFG Research Training Groups in discrete and algorithmic mathematics in Berlin in which discrete mathematicians and algorithmic-oriented computer scientists came together. He was one of the key organizers of the 1998 ICM in Berlin and acted as an integrative and representative figure for all of Berlin mathematics throughout his career.

Martin Aigner was the recipient of the Lester R. Ford Award of the Mathematical Association of America and the 2018 Steele Prize for Exposition for “Proofs from THE BOOK”. He was an external member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and member of the “Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften” (BBAW).

Martin Aigner will be remembered for his numerous contributions to mathematics, both as author and editor. His oeuvre consists of textbooks and monographs in his fields of expertise as well as books addressing the general public. Best known is probably “Proofs from THE BOOK” which he wrote together with Günter M. Ziegler in 1998. “Proofs from THE BOOK” was translated into 14 languages and became an international bestseller.

Although he retired in 2010, Martin Aigner continued to participate in the academic life of the FU Berlin, BMS, and MATH+ and was a welcomed and frequent guest at public events. We were lucky enough to celebrate his 80thbirthday with a colloquium in his honor last year.


A memorial service will be held in the “Dorfkirche Dahlem” (St.-Annen-Kirche, Königin-Luise-Straße 55) at 2 pm on 25 November. 

MATH+ mourns the loss of a wonderful member of the scientific community.  Our thoughts are with his family in these hours of grief.


Full obituary from FU (in German)