I am reading the (seminal?) paper of R. Courant on Finite elemtent methods (FEM) and in it I found the following phrase:
"But only the spectacular success of Walther Ritz and its tragic circumstances caught the general interest."
that is on the first page of the article Variational methods for the solution of problems of equilibrium and vibrations of 1943 by R. Courant
What does it mean? what are the tragic circumstances to which Courant refers to?
Why did those circumstances caught the general interest on the subject discussed?(FEM)