WERNER ROMBERG (1909-2003)

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1909, Werner Romberg was a numerical analysis pioneer. He started his teaching career in the autumn of 1938 when he joined the University of Oslo.

In 1949, Romberg joined the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim as an associate professor of physics.

In 1955, he originated a procedure for improving the accuracy of the trapezoidal rule by eliminating the successive terms in the asymptotic expansion. It was based on the extrapolation process devised by Lewis Fry Richardson (1881-1953).

This procedure can now be found in every textbook on numerical analysis without any reference to Romberg’s original paper. Besides its usefulness, Romberg”s method also showed to non-specialists that convergence acceleration methods can be quite powerful.

In 1960, Romberg was appointed to chair the applied mathematics department at the Norwegian Institute of Technology. He held this position for ten years until he accepted a professorship at the University of Heidelberg. There, he organized a teaching program in applied mathematics, and built a strong research program in numerical analysis.

        • Douglas Rogers, “USF/AKK: Romberg”, E-mail to Autar Kaw. May 2, 2006.

        • Romberg Seminar on Quadrature/Interpolation/Extrapolation and Rational Approximations (Pade-Continued Fractions), Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab, Tapir Forlag, Trondheim, September 2, 1989.

This biography was written by Loubna Guennoun and Autar Kaw.