Born: October 20, 1914, Oakwood, Texas
Died: April 28, 1986, Austin, Texas
R.H. Bing was a mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas, a topologist, and a leader in professional mathematics organizations.
As president, Bing visited and gave invited talks at several meetings of local sections of the MAA. Bing's retiring presidential address "Challenging Conjectures" appeared in a special issue of the American Mathematical Monthly in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the MAA.
While serving as president, Bing continued to publish research papers on topology. His research achievements included results in continuum theory, 3-manifolds, metrization, and planar sets.
Bing spent the majority of his academic career at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, beginning in 1947. He chaired the mathematics department from 1958 to 1960. As a Wisconsin professor, he also visited the University of Virginia (1949-50), the Institute for Advanced Study (1957-58, 1962-63, 67), and the University of Texas (1971-72).
He returned to the University of Texas in 1973, chaired the department from 1975 to 1977, and stayed there until he retired in 1985. Bing was the first in a sequence of four consecutive MAA presidents who had earned their Ph.D.s in topology under R.L. Moore at the University of Texas. Bing helped create Challenge in the Classroom, an MAA film about Moore and his teaching methods.
In addition to his MAA involvement, Bing was active in the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Board, the National Research Council, and the Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences. He won the MAA Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award in 1974.