# Rózsa Péter

February 17, 1905 - February 16, 1977

Péter attended the Maria Terezia Girls' School until 1922, then entered
the Pázmány Péter University (the oldest and largest university in Hungary, renamed Eötvös Loránd University in 1950) in Budapest to study chemistry. She later
switched to the field of mathematics and received her degree in 1927. She
received her Ph.D. in 1935. In her early papers and in her dissertation,
Peter
helped to found the modern field of recursive function theory as a separate area
of mathematical research.

Péter did not receive her first full-time teaching position until 1945
when she joined the faculty of the Budapest Teachers Training College. She
taught there until the college closed in 1955, then became a full
professor at Eötvös Loránd University until her retirement in 1975.

In 1952 Péter became the first Hungarian
female mathematician to become an Academic Doctor of Mathematics. She
received many honors and prizes including the Kossuth Prize for her
scientific and pedological work from the
Hungarian government (1951), the Mano Beke Prize by the Janos Bolyai
Mathematical Society (1953), and the State Prize, Silver Degree (1970) and
Gold Degree (1973). In 1973 she was elected as the first female mathematician
to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Péter was the author of
*Playing with Infinity: Mathematical Explorations and Excursions,*
translated into at least 14 languages,
and *Recursive Functions in Computer Theory.* The latter was the
second Hungarian mathematical book to be published in the Soviet Union
because its subject matter was considered
indispensable to the theory of computers.

### References

- Andreka, Hajnal. "Rozsa Peter (1905-1977)," in
*Women of
Mathematics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook,* Grinstein and Campbell,
Editors, Greenwood Press, 1987, 171-174.
- Morris, Edie and Leon Harkleroad. "Rozsa Peter: Recursive Function
Theory's Founding Mother," Mathematical Intelligencer 12(1) (1990), 50.
- "Rozsa Peter and Recursion," in
*History of Math*, Key
Curriculum Press, 1996, p197-198
- Tamassy, Istvan. "Interview with Rozsa Peter," translated by Leon
Harkleroad, Modern Logic 4(3) (1994), 277-280.
- Moite, Sally M. "Rozsa Peter," in
*Notable Mathematicians,*
Robyn Young, Editor, Gale Research, 1998, 394-395.
- MathSciNet [subscription required]
- Author Profile at zbMath
- Biography at the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive