MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for a copy of "J Schmid, On the degree complexity of Hilbert's 17th problem and the real nullstellensatz. Habilitationsschrift, Universitat Dortmund, 1998."

Articles referring to this work mention the effective bounds on the complexity, but don't have the explicit expression.

PS a question in general: how do I look for Habilitationsschrift and people's thesis in general? especially if they are unpublished?

share|cite|improve this question
Consider asking your school's librarians for assistance - after all, it's what they're being paid for. I've certainly gotten quite a bit of help from mine for various requests. – j.c. Oct 14 '10 at 13:07
thank you jc. i'll give that a try. – user2529 Oct 14 '10 at 13:11
Yes, they can usually request them via interlibrary loan. – Andy Putman Oct 14 '10 at 16:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here is a copy:

share|cite|improve this answer

I think the common place to look for copies of dissertations are the resources "ProQuest Dissertations and Theses" and "WorldCat Dissertations and Theses" if your library subscribes to them.

In addition, often a university will keep a digital archive of its own dissertations, so sometimes you can get a copy directly from the university it was done at (links to some of these can be found through

Also, some countries have national libraries that keep copies of dissertations (for example, the British Library has created something like this:; for Australia and New Zealand:

Finally, if the dissertation is recent, just try to find the author on the Internet and see if they can email you a copy.

share|cite|improve this answer

(Started out as a comment on Beren's answer, but this is rapidly getting out of hand...)

Some American universities have deals with professional printers-of-theses, which means that anyone wanting to get a copy would have to buy one through their services; the university cannot distribute them, although inter-library loan ought to be still possible. Very annoying...

On the other hand, European universities would be a lot more likely to take pains to make their work available. I know for a fact that French ones do, there is even a central on-line repository, but honestly you have to know where it is and even then it can be quite daunting to navigate.

Indeed, even though I had a fair idea where to look, it took me several attempts and dead-ends to find this link for France:

Given how tricky this can get, I'm leaving this CW so that anyone who feels like it can add in links for other countries.

share|cite|improve this answer
Yeah, it can be hard to track down these dissertation archives, especially for those who don't speak the language. It would be nice to collate a list of such resources so that people don't have to go hunting. Maybe someone should open a new MO question for this specific purpose where we can write down all the links for each country. – Beren Sanders Oct 14 '10 at 21:07
yes, i second Beren on opening another MO question – user2529 Oct 15 '10 at 4:48
OK, I guess I'll have to take the plunge... – Thierry Zell Oct 15 '10 at 13:12

Habilitation theses can be next to impossible to find; here are a few options if nothing else works:

  • Joachim Schmid seems to be a Ph.D. student of Alexander Prestel in Konstanz; you may ask him by email whether he knows how to obtain a copy. Habilitation theses do not have a proper supervisor.

  • Try to get into contact with the library of the math department at Dortmund. It may very well be the only library in the world holding a copy. You might also ask some algebraic geometer there to check if there's a copy available there.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.