Person: White, Henry Seely
Henry White worked on invariant theory, the geometry of curves and surfaces, algebraic curves and twisted curves. He is one of the few mathematicians in our archive to die on his birthday (in 1943).
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- From there White entered the Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, which was founded in 1831 by a group of Methodists.
- It was John Monroe Van Vleck who persuaded White that he should continue to study mathematics at graduate level.
- After graduating with an A.B. in 1882, White was appointed as an assistant to John Monroe Van Vleck in the astronomical observatory at the Wesleyan University, then he moved to Centenary Collegiate Institute, Hackettstown, New Jersey where he taught mathematics and chemistry for a year before returning to the Wesleyan University to become a tutor.
- White's friend, William J James, had studied under Klein at Göttingen and also under Kronecker and Fuchs in Berlin.
- Taking James' advice, White went to study at the University of Göttingen for his doctorate between 1887 and 1890 under Klein's supervision.
- White did attend one of Klein's courses from the time he arrived, however, taking the slightly less advanced course on potential theory.
- White's other task was to use this semester to learn background on abelian functions so that he could start Klein's three semester course on that topic in the next academic year.
- White's doctorate was awarded for the thesis Abelsche Integrale auf singularitätenfreien, einfach überdeckten, vollständigen Schnittkurven eines beliebig ausgedehnten Raumes in 1891.
- White returned to the United States in March 1890, before completing his doctorate, to take up a temporary position in a school attached to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
- The University hired some excellent mathematicians, and there White became a colleague of Story and Bolza.
- White began teaching advanced courses in his area of research interest, in particular on algebraic geometry, projective geometry, and invariant theory.
- Nine of the eleven members of faculty left Clark including both White and Bolza.
- Eliakim Moore tried to arrange an appointment for White at the University of Chicago, but this did not work out.
- Klein attended the Columbian Exposition and then went to Evanston to spend two weeks there at White's invitation to give a series of lectures on contemporary mathematical research.
- White's success here led him to approach the American Mathematical Society suggesting that such Colloquium lectures should become a feature.
- White's proposal was indeed taken up by the American Mathematical Society and the result was the American Mathematical Society Colloquium lectures which are published as the American Mathematical Society Colloquium Publication series.
- In 1905 White was appointed as professor at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
- White retired from Vassar College in 1936.
- White was an excellent research mathematician.
- Despite White's impressive mathematical contributions, he may be most important for his work for the American Mathematical Society.
- White was vice-president of the American Mathematical Society in 1901 and then president from 1907 to 1908.
Born 20 May 1861, Cazenovia, New York, USA. Died 20 May 1943, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Astronomy, Origin Usa
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive