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Softcover ISBN:  9781470448288 
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Product Code:  SPEC/93.B 
List Price:  $115.00 $87.50 
MAA Member Price:  $86.25 $65.63 
AMS Member Price:  $86.25 $65.63 
Softcover ISBN:  9781470448288 
Product Code:  SPEC/93 
List Price:  $60.00 
MAA Member Price:  $45.00 
AMS Member Price:  $45.00 
eBook ISBN:  9781470449117 
Product Code:  SPEC/93.E 
List Price:  $55.00 
MAA Member Price:  $41.25 
AMS Member Price:  $41.25 
Softcover ISBN:  9781470448288 
eBook ISBN:  9781470449117 
Product Code:  SPEC/93.B 
List Price:  $115.00 $87.50 
MAA Member Price:  $86.25 $65.63 
AMS Member Price:  $86.25 $65.63 

Book DetailsSpectrumVolume: 93; 2018; 385 ppMSC: Primary 01; 05; 57; 58; 37; 97
Hassler Whitney was a giant of twentiethcentury mathematics. This biography paints a picture of him and includes dozens of revealing anecdotes. Mathematically, he had a rare detector that went off whenever he spotted a piece of mathematical gold, and he would then draw countless pictures, gradually forging a path from hunch to proof. This geometric path is seldom reflected in the rigor of his formal papers, but thanks to a close friendship and many conversations over decades, author Kendig was able to see how he actually worked. This book shows this through accessible accounts of his major mathematical contributions, with figures copiously supplied.
Whitney is probably best known for introducing the grandfather of today's innumerable embedding theorems—his strong embedding theorem stating that any smooth manifold can be smoothly embedded in a Euclidean space of twice the manifold's dimension. This in turn led to several standard techniques used every day in algebraic topology. Whitney also established the fundamentals of graph theory, the fourcolor problem, matroids, extending smooth functions, and singularities of smooth functions. He almost never used complicated technical machinery, so most of his work is accessible to a general reader with a modest mathematical background.
His mathmusic connection was intense: He played piano, violin, and viola and won “best composition of the year” while earning a Bachelor's degree in music at Yale. He was an accomplished mountain climber, and as a tinkerer, at age fourteen he built the largeformat camera used to take this book's cover photograph. Whitney's family generously provided dozens of photographs appearing here for the very first time. This biography is a revealing portrait of a fascinating personality and a titan of twentiethcentury mathematics.
ReadershipUndergraduate and graduate students and researchers interested in history, biography, and the history of topology.

Table of Contents

Chapters

Chapter 1. Some Snapshots

Chapter 2. How Hassler Chose His Genes

Chapter 3. Growing Up

Chapter 4. Hassler Goes to College

Chapter 5. Early Days at Harvard

Chapter 6. The FourColor Problem: Some History and Whitney’s Contributions to It

Chapter 7. Whitney and the FourColor Problem: A Closer Look

Chapter 8. Whitney Discovers a Big Brother to the Matrix: The Matroid

Chapter 9. Topology: Its Beginnings

Chapter 10. Topology Grows Into a Branch of Mathematics

Chapter 11. Whitney Helped Revolutionize Algebraic Topology

Chapter 12. Whitney’s Extension Theorems

Chapter 13. Whitney’s Weak Embedding Theorem

Chapter 14. Whitney’s Strong Embedding Theorem

Chapter 15. World War II

Chapter 16. From Harvard to the Institute; Insights on Smooth Mappings

Chapter 17. Are There Decomposition Theorems for Nonmanifolds?

Chapter 18. After Research

Chapter 19. Evolution or Revolution?

Chapter 20. Other Happenings at the Institute

Chapter 21. The Unspeakable Was About to Happen

Chapter 22. Sometimes You Get to Know People Through the Little Things

Chapter 23. Parting Shots: A Gallery of Photos

Notes


Additional Material

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Hassler Whitney was a giant of twentiethcentury mathematics. This biography paints a picture of him and includes dozens of revealing anecdotes. Mathematically, he had a rare detector that went off whenever he spotted a piece of mathematical gold, and he would then draw countless pictures, gradually forging a path from hunch to proof. This geometric path is seldom reflected in the rigor of his formal papers, but thanks to a close friendship and many conversations over decades, author Kendig was able to see how he actually worked. This book shows this through accessible accounts of his major mathematical contributions, with figures copiously supplied.
Whitney is probably best known for introducing the grandfather of today's innumerable embedding theorems—his strong embedding theorem stating that any smooth manifold can be smoothly embedded in a Euclidean space of twice the manifold's dimension. This in turn led to several standard techniques used every day in algebraic topology. Whitney also established the fundamentals of graph theory, the fourcolor problem, matroids, extending smooth functions, and singularities of smooth functions. He almost never used complicated technical machinery, so most of his work is accessible to a general reader with a modest mathematical background.
His mathmusic connection was intense: He played piano, violin, and viola and won “best composition of the year” while earning a Bachelor's degree in music at Yale. He was an accomplished mountain climber, and as a tinkerer, at age fourteen he built the largeformat camera used to take this book's cover photograph. Whitney's family generously provided dozens of photographs appearing here for the very first time. This biography is a revealing portrait of a fascinating personality and a titan of twentiethcentury mathematics.
Undergraduate and graduate students and researchers interested in history, biography, and the history of topology.

Chapters

Chapter 1. Some Snapshots

Chapter 2. How Hassler Chose His Genes

Chapter 3. Growing Up

Chapter 4. Hassler Goes to College

Chapter 5. Early Days at Harvard

Chapter 6. The FourColor Problem: Some History and Whitney’s Contributions to It

Chapter 7. Whitney and the FourColor Problem: A Closer Look

Chapter 8. Whitney Discovers a Big Brother to the Matrix: The Matroid

Chapter 9. Topology: Its Beginnings

Chapter 10. Topology Grows Into a Branch of Mathematics

Chapter 11. Whitney Helped Revolutionize Algebraic Topology

Chapter 12. Whitney’s Extension Theorems

Chapter 13. Whitney’s Weak Embedding Theorem

Chapter 14. Whitney’s Strong Embedding Theorem

Chapter 15. World War II

Chapter 16. From Harvard to the Institute; Insights on Smooth Mappings

Chapter 17. Are There Decomposition Theorems for Nonmanifolds?

Chapter 18. After Research

Chapter 19. Evolution or Revolution?

Chapter 20. Other Happenings at the Institute

Chapter 21. The Unspeakable Was About to Happen

Chapter 22. Sometimes You Get to Know People Through the Little Things

Chapter 23. Parting Shots: A Gallery of Photos

Notes