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Mathematical Treasure: Oswald Veblen’s Analysis Situs

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

The American mathematician Oswald Veblen (1880-1960) was a geometer and topologist. Early in his career, in 1905, he proved the” Jordan (Closed) Curve Theorem” and joined the Princeton University faculty as a preceptor. He went on to become a Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University in 1910 and one of the founders of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in 1932.

Soon after its founding, the American Mathematical Society initiated a series of mathematical colloquia to be held every few years in conjunction with the organization’s summer meeting. Named after the city in which they took place, the first such colloquium was the Buffalo Colloquium, held in Buffalo, New York, in 1896. In 1916, the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Colloquium featured Griffin Evans, who spoke on “Functionals and their Applications,” and Oswald Veblen, whose presentation was on “Analysis Situs,” later known as topology. Veblen’s talk was published in 1922 as Part II of the collected Cambridge lectures and served as a pioneering topology textbook.

Title page of Analysis Situs by Oswald Veblen (second part of AMS Cambridge Colloquium 1922)

Veblen’s “Preface” and the “Contents” describe the text and the outline of topics to be considered.

First page of preface to Analysis Situs by Oswald Veblen (second part of AMS Cambridge Colloquium 1922)

Second page of preface to Analysis Situs by Oswald Veblen (second part of AMS Cambridge Colloquium 1922)

First page of table of contents to Analysis Situs by Oswald Veblen (second part of AMS Cambridge Colloquium 1922)

Second page of table of contents to Analysis Situs by Oswald Veblen (second part of AMS Cambridge Colloquium 1922)

Third page of table of contents to Analysis Situs by Oswald Veblen (second part of AMS Cambridge Colloquium 1922)

These images were obtained through the courtesy of the University of California’s Digital Library. The book may be viewed in its entirety in the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Oswald Veblen’s Analysis Situs," Convergence (March 2018)

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