The mystery of Alex Bernstein

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MikeB
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by MikeB » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:47 am

An article written by Alex regarding his chess program in 1958.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tpnrylkdr5ahd ... 9.pdf?dl=1
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Gerd Isenberg
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Gerd Isenberg » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:54 am

Sergei S. Markoff wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:13 am
Finally I've got some progress! :)

McCorduck, P. (2004). Machines who think: a personal inquiry into the history and prospects of artificial intelligence (2. Edition). London: A.K. Peters. // https://books.google.ru/books?id=aH9QAAAAMAAJ
Great finding!

Pamela McCorduck was married to Joseph F. Traub, whose academic successors were important figures in computer chess history...

Sergei S. Markoff
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Sergei S. Markoff » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:36 am

MikeB wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:47 am
An article written by Alex regarding his chess program in 1958.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tpnrylkdr5ahd ... 9.pdf?dl=1
Thank you!
The Force Be With You!

Sergei S. Markoff
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Sergei S. Markoff » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:39 am

Gerd Isenberg wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:54 am
Great finding!

Pamela McCorduck was married to Joseph F. Traub, whose academic successors were important figures in computer chess history...
The most intriguing part from my point of view is "his flagging interest in mathematics revived by a kind woman who had known his father, a well-known European mathematician". Who was his father?.. Benjamin Abram Bernstein [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Abram_Bernstein]? Felix Bernstein [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Ber ... ematician)]? I found no links to son named Alex in their biography...
The Force Be With You!

Gerd Isenberg
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Gerd Isenberg » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:37 pm

Sergei S. Markoff wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:39 am
The most intriguing part from my point of view is "his flagging interest in mathematics revived by a kind woman who had known his father, a well-known European mathematician". Who was his father?.. Benjamin Abram Bernstein [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Abram_Bernstein]? Felix Bernstein [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Ber ... ematician)]? I found no links to son named Alex in their biography...
Bernstein is quite common surname. Mathematics Genealogy Project has 46 Bernstein records, but no one seem to fit. I guess it is not Sergei Natanovich Bernstein?

Sergei S. Markoff
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Sergei S. Markoff » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:57 pm

Gerd Isenberg wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:37 pm
Sergei S. Markoff wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:39 am
The most intriguing part from my point of view is "his flagging interest in mathematics revived by a kind woman who had known his father, a well-known European mathematician". Who was his father?.. Benjamin Abram Bernstein [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Abram_Bernstein]? Felix Bernstein [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Ber ... ematician)]? I found no links to son named Alex in their biography...
Bernstein is quite common surname. Mathematics Genealogy Project has 46 Bernstein records, but no one seem to fit. I guess it is not Sergei Natanovich Bernstein?
Definitely no. He should be:
1) Bernstein (?)
2) Well-known European mathematician (well, part of Russia is Europe, but I think if he was from Russia than he would be "russian mathematician", not european).

Felix Bernstein is a good candidate. He was a well-known european mathematician and also he lived in USA for more than 10 years. But the only option here is if Alex was his extramarital son...
The Force Be With You!

LizRand
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Full name: Elizabeth Rand

Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by LizRand » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:47 pm

Hi -
I see the last post in this chain was over a year ago, but in case anyone is still interested in my father, I am Alex Bernstein's daughter. His father was Vladimir Bernstein who died young during WWII (Vladimir Bernstein was also a mathematician). When I was young and wanted to look at a few surviving books in our home that Vladimir had written, my father said: "Lizzy, those books are written in 3 languages you don't understand: French, Russian, and Mathematics!" My father's grandmother and step-grandfather brought him and his sister to the US as children sometime around 1940.
I would be happy to answer other questions about my father. Also of note - Jill Lepore has written a book on artificial intelligence which is scheduled for publication in October 2020 (of course no idea if the pandemic has altered the schedule). She contacted me and my brother in the research phase and I believe some of my father's contributions will be included (though likely not about his chess activities).
best wishes
Liz

Gerd Isenberg
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Gerd Isenberg » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:38 pm

Hi Liz,
thank you for providing that information about your father and grandfather. For the chess programming wiki article, I am interested in a few more biographical details about your father Alex Bernstein, date of birth, and, assuming he is no longer alive, date of death, some details about his education, his IBM employment, and possibly his further contributions to AI.
Best wishes as well,
Gerd

Sergei S. Markoff
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Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Sergei S. Markoff » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:41 pm

Dear Liz,
Thank you for information about your father and grandfather!

I've found some info on Vladimir Bernstein:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Bernstein
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimiro_Bernstein

He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on 13-Jul-1900 and died in Milan on 23-Jan-1936.
Escaped from Russia in 1919 and seriously injured when crossing the Finnish border (details are unclear), he was in England and Paris, where he graduated from the Sorbonne. In 1931 he came to settle in Italy, first in Rome and then in Milan, where he obtained citizenship and free teaching in Analysis. He was appointed professor [professore incaricato] at the universities of Milan and Pavia. Gold medal of the Society of XL (1935). He died prematurely due to the late consequences of his injury after fleeing Russia.

His works, which left much to promise for the future, mainly concern the theory of entire functions and the Dirichlet series.

Could you please confirm (or decline) that he is your grandfather?
LizRand wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:47 pm
Hi -
I see the last post in this chain was over a year ago, but in case anyone is still interested in my father, I am Alex Bernstein's daughter. His father was Vladimir Bernstein who died young during WWII (Vladimir Bernstein was also a mathematician). When I was young and wanted to look at a few surviving books in our home that Vladimir had written, my father said: "Lizzy, those books are written in 3 languages you don't understand: French, Russian, and Mathematics!" My father's grandmother and step-grandfather brought him and his sister to the US as children sometime around 1940.
I would be happy to answer other questions about my father. Also of note - Jill Lepore has written a book on artificial intelligence which is scheduled for publication in October 2020 (of course no idea if the pandemic has altered the schedule). She contacted me and my brother in the research phase and I believe some of my father's contributions will be included (though likely not about his chess activities).
best wishes
Liz
The Force Be With You!

Sergei S. Markoff
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Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:27 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia
Contact:

Re: The mystery of Alex Bernstein

Post by Sergei S. Markoff » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:50 pm

Some more intriguing details from here: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02280296/document

«Finally, the trajectory of Vladimir Bernstein (1900-1936) constitutes another singular case, described in
detail in Finzi (1936). Born in 1900 in St. Petersburg, Bernstein entered the local university when he
was 17 to specialize in mathematics and became close to Yakov Viktorovich Uspensky (1883-1947).27
Taking advantage of the proximity of the border, he decided to emigrate during the winter of 1919 by
reaching Vyborg on the other side of the Gulf of Finland. Unfortunately, he was seriously wounded by
bullet before arriving there, and he never fully recovered from this injury that led to his premature death
in 1936. Arrived in France in the mid-1920s after a stay in London, he entered the Sorbonne and in 1930
defended a PhD on the singularities of Dirichlet series, dedicated to ‘his master Paul Montel’. The
lectures that Vladimir Bernstein presented at the Collège de France that same year on Dirichlet series
were published in 1933 in the Borel series of monographs on the theory of functions as Bernstein
(1933). The book was introduced by a very laudatory preface by Hadamard. It was in Italy, however,
that Bernstein decided to settle down (he had already published several papers in Italian journals). He
obtained Italian citizenship in 1931 and was responsible for teaching superior analysis in Milan and
analytical geometry in Pavia.»
The Force Be With You!

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