Dedekind, Julius Wilhelm Richard
Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind (yōōl´yŏŏs vĬl´hĕlm rĬkh´ärt dā´dəkĬnt), 1831–1916, German mathematician. Dedekind studied at Göttingen under the German mathematician Carl Gauss and in 1852 received his doctorate there for a thesis on Eulerian integrals. In 1858 he went to Zürich as a professor; in 1862 he returned to his home town Brunswick to become a professor there. Dedekind led the effort to formulate rigorous definitions of basic mathematical concepts. Perhaps his best-known contribution is the "Dedekind cut," whereby real numbers can be defined in terms of rational numbers. He also did fundamental work in algebraic number theory, introducing the notion of ideal in ring systems.