Paul Luckey was one of the foremost historians of Arabic-Islamic mathematics in the 20th century. The following
biography has been compiled from the *Lebenslauf* on pp. 199-200
of his dissertation and from the information which has kindly been provided
by Prof. Dr. Anton Schall
(Heidelberg) and Frau Dr. Katharina Seifert (Heidelberg), who both knew Luckey.

Christian Paul Luckey was born on December 26, 1884, in Elberfeld near Wuppertal in Germany. He studied mathematics, science and philosophy in Marburg, Berlin and Munich. He became a highschool teacher in his native town of Elberfeld from 1912 to 1924. His teaching career was interrupted by World War I. Between 1915 and 1918 he fought in the German army in various battles in Belgium and he was severely wounded in the summer of 1916. In 1924 he moved to Marburg, where he worked as a grammar-school teacher until his early retirement in 1932. In 1924 and 1928 he also taught applied mathematics and history of mathematics at the University of Marburg.

After his early retirement, at the age of 47, Luckey began to study Arabic in Heidelberg, Berlin, Bonn and Tübingen. He was a pupil of Enno Littmann.

Luckey published a paper ([42] in the bibliography) in the Nazi journal *Deutsche
Mathematik*, and in some of his papers there are
statements about the supposed Aryan origin of
al-Biruni and other medieval
Islamic mathematicians. However, the publications of Luckey are apolitical and
he may have added the above-mentioned sentences to facilitate
the publication of his papers
under the Hitler regime.

Frau Dr. Seifert, who was a good friend of Luckey when he lived in Bonn,
told me that Luckey was "one hundred per cent anti-Nazi."
She illustrated this
with the following story. Between June 30 and July 2, 1934, Hitler ordered his
SS-troops to liquidate several hundreds of his political opponents,
inside and outside the party. (See D. Raff, *Deutsche
Geschichte: vom alten Reich zur zweiten Republik*,
Heidelberg 1986, p. 275.) One of the persons whom Hitler
wanted to liquidate was Hansjoachim von
Rohr, of Demmin in (then) Pommern, who had the high political position of
"Staatssekretär im Reichswirtschaftsministerium." Von Rohr just
managed to escape through
a window when his estate was
surrounded by SS-troops.
For several days, he hid in a cornfield, and he then travelled in
disguise, as "Dr. Vollmer," to
Bonn and arrived at the house of Frau Dr. Seifert, whom he knew
to be anti-Nazi. Frau Seifert then found a hiding-place for von Rohr
in the house of a botany professor,
where
he shared an apartment with Luckey. Of course, everybody involved risked
their lives by
protecting one of Hitler's enemies.
Fortunately, Mr. von Rohr survived the second world war.

During World War II, Luckey again served in the German army for a brief time as an officer in a mobile communication unit. He seems to have left the army in June 1940. In 1941 he defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Tübingen on the subject of Ibrahim ibn Sinan's treatise on shadow instruments.

The last part of Luckey's life is shrouded in mystery. He remained unmarried until the second world war. Frau Dr. Seifert describes him as "a person who lived a solitary life." (Er war ein Einzelgänger, der sehr für sich lebte.) Paul Luckey loved to go for long walks in the woods near Tübingen. The story goes that on these walks he met an elderly widow, who lived in a beautiful villa at the foot of the Rossberg. (The address was: Schillerstrasse 53, Gönningen. After the war, the Schillerstrasse was renamed Auf der Ay, and the numbers were changed; the number of the villa is now 37.) They married in 1942 or 1943, and he moved into his wife's villa. On July 21, 1949, Luckey threw himself into the Bodensee at Immenstaad. Although several of his papers were published posthumously, no obituary was ever written. This introduction can be regarded as an obituary, and the publication of this book is intended as a tribute to the man and his work.

Luckey's publications have been listed in the bibliography. They fall naturally into three groups, which coincide more or less with the three stages of his career.

1. In the first period of his career, as a highschool teacher in
Elberfeld,
Luckey became one of the
German experts in nomography. This branch of applied mathematics
was popular at the beginning of the 20th century but has become obsolete in the computer age.
The purpose of nomography is to facilitate practical calculations
(in engineering etc.) by
means of geometrical diagrams. For example, in the simple case of the
multiplication of two numbers *a* and *b*, nomography shows how
a geometrical diagram can be constructed with three scales; one for *a*,
one for *b* and one for the product *ab*.
By putting a ruler on the scales for *a* and *b* one can read
off the product *ab* as the intersection with the third scale.
Many variations on this pattern are possible.
In his Elberfeld period Luckey published various papers and a book
in two parts ([4] and [6]) on nomography. The book became
very popular and was reprinted several times, and the stream of
publications on nomography continued while he was in Marburg, until his retirement in
1932. Luckey also constructed a cardboard sundial, copies of which were sold at
a bookshop in Elberfeld (see [8]).

2. Luckey was a dedicated teacher and in his Marburg period from 1924 to his retirement in 1932, he published some papers on the didactics of mathematics and on elementary mathematics, mostly in German journals on mathematics education.

3. Already at the beginning of his career, Luckey was interested in the
history of mathematics, and one can find historical remarks throughout
his articles on nomography, elementary mathematics and didactics. His first publications in the history of mathematics date
back to his Marburg period. In a remarkable article
[24], Luckey used his expertise in nomography
to explain the purpose of the work *Analemma* by Ptolemy (ca. 150 CE).
The *Analemma* had been edited but it had only been partially
understood by previous
researchers. Soon after Luckey's retirement, he published a long article on ancient Egyptian geometry
[34]
in the international journal *Isis*.
Then follows an interval of five years without
publications, in which Luckey was
busy learning Arabic.
Between 1938 and his death, Luckey published six important articles on the history of
Arabic mathematics [41]-[46], and three more [47]-[49]
appeared posthumously between 1950 and 1953.
The value of these nine publications is universally recognized
by modern historians.
In 1941 Luckey defended his dissertation on Ibrahim ibn
Sinan's treatise on shadow instruments.
The dissertation was not published at the time, although a very brief summary
appeared in [45]. Luckey worked on several other projects,
including an edition with a German translation of
Al-Biruni's treatise on mathematical geography
*Fi tahdid nihayat al-amakin li-tashih
masafat al-masakin*. (See F. Sezgin, *Geschichte des arabischen
Schrifttums* (GAS) Band VI, Astronomie, Leiden: Brill, 1978, p. 407 no. 4.)

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Jan Hogendijk <J.P.Hogendijk_at_uu.nl> 2015