Visitors to the Google homepage today have been confronted with an image of Stefan Banach.

But who is he - and why is the online search engine 'celebrating' him?

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Who is Stefan Banach?

Banach was a Polish mathematician.

Born in March 1892, he was a pioneer of functional analysis - a branch of mathematics that studied vector spaces, as well as linear functions.

He was born in Krakow and was baptised by his father as part of a Goral Roman Catholic family.

However, his soldier father was not permitted to marry, as he was only a private.

Banach was therefore raised by his grandmother for the first few years of his life.

After she passed away, he was raised by friends of the family.

Later, after being excused military service due to poor eyesight and being left-handed, Banach made his living as a tutor, working in a bookshop and as part of a road-building crew.

Self-taught, he emerged as a brilliant mathematician, with roles at Lwow Polytechnic and more following.

Stefan Banach death

After the war, he was preparing to return to Poland, and a role at the Jagiellonian University, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

He died on August 31, 1945, at the age of 53.