Person: Hsiung, Chuan-Chih
Chuan-Chih Hsiung was a Chinese-born American mathematician specialising in differential geometry.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Mu-Han Hsiung received a good education at the Advanced School in Nanchang and there he studied mathematics from English textbooks.
- Chuan-Chih was the third of the four sons.
- The second of Mu-Han and Tu Shih's sons, C Y Hsiung, also went on the become a professor of mathematics writing books such as Elementary theory of numbers (1992).
- In this Hsiung expresses certain invariants of curves in a space of four dimensions found by Buchin Su, and published by him in 1937, in terms of double ratios of covariant points.
- Guy Grove not only reviewed this paper but also Hsiung's papers Sopra il contatto di due curve piane (1940), The canonical lines (1941), A graphical construction of the sphere osculating a space curve (1941), On the curvature form and the projective curvatures of a space curve (1942), Asymptotic ruled surfaces (1943), Projective differential geometry of a pair of plane curves (1943), Theory of intersection of two plane curves (1943), An invariant of intersection of two surfaces (1943), and Projective invariants of a pair of surfaces (1943).
- Grove was very impressed with Hsiung's mathematics and tried to arrange for him to come to Michigan State University to study for a doctorate.
- Hsiung had been keen to continue his education in the United States after he graduated but he had been prevented by the war.
- By 1938 the Japanese occupied much of Chekiang province and Hsiung could not travel to the United States.
- Although we listed several of Hsiung's papers between 1940 and 1943 there was one which we did not mention since it was rather different from the rest.
- In 1943 Grove arranged for Hsiung to become a teaching assistant at Michigan State University so that he would have sufficient financial support to work for his doctorate.
- However the war between Japan and China still made it impossible for Hsiung to travel to the United States.
- Only in 1946 was Hsiung able to leave China and begin working with Grove at Michigan State University.
- After the award of his doctorate, Hsiung was appointed as an instructor at Michigan State University and held this for two years until 1950 after which he spent the winter semester as a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University in Evanston.
- Hassler Whitney then invited Hsiung to become his research assistant at Harvard and Hsiung took up this position in the spring of 1951.
- Whitney went to the Institute for Advanced Study in the autumn of 1952 and Hsiung was offered an assistant professorship at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
- The university had been founded in 1865 by Asa Packer, an industrialist and philanthropist, and Hsiung was to spend the rest of his career there.
- We have already indicated the range of Hsiung's early work on projective geometry.
- There is one very important contribution which Hsiung has made which we have not mentioned yet.
Born 15 February 1915, Shefong, Jiangsi, China. Died 6 May 2009, Needham, Massachusetts, USA.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive