Gábor Szegő (Hungarian pronunciation : [ˈɡaːbor ˈsɛɡøː]) (January 20, 1895 – August 7, 1985) was a Hungarian mathematician. He was one of the foremost analysts of his generation and made fundamental contributions to the theory of Toeplitz matrices and orthogonal polynomials.
Szegő’s most important work was in analysis. He was one of the foremost analysts of his generation and made fundamental contributions to the theory of Toeplitz matrices and orthogonal polynomials. He wrote over 130 papers in several languages. Each of his four books, several written in collaboration with others, has become a classic in its field. The monograph Orthogonal polynomials, published in 1939, contains much of his research and has had a profound influence in many areas of applied mathematics, including theoretical physics, stochastic processes and numerical analysis.
At the age of 15, the young John von Neumann, recognised as a mathematical prodigy, was sent to study advanced calculus under Szegő. On their first meeting, Szegő was so astounded by von Neumann’s mathematical talent and speed that he was brought to tears. Szegő subsequently visited the von Neumann house twice a week to tutor the child prodigy. Some of von Neumann’s instant solutions to the problems in calculus posed by Szegő, sketched out with his father’s stationary, are now on display at the von Neumann archive at Budapest.