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Zermelo, Ernst Friedrich Ferdinand



Mathematician, born in Berlin. He studied at Berlin, Halle, and Freiburg universities, and was professor at Göttingen (1905--10) and Zürich (1910--16). He gave the first axiomatic description of set theory in 1908. Although later modified to avoid the paradoxes discovered by Bertrand Russell and others, it remains one of the standard methods of axiomatizing the theory. He also first revealed the importance of the axiom of choice, when he proved in 1904 that any set could be well-ordered, a key result in many mathematical applications of set theory.

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