Person: Kelley, John
John Kelley was an American mathematician who worked in general topology and functional analysis. He is best known for his standard topology textbook.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Charles Kelley is described as a "minister" in the 1920 census, and a "travelling salesman in groceries" in the 1930 census.
- John Kelley appears as John L Kelley in 1920 but as Leroy Kelley in 1930.
- Kelley's final year of high school was in Los Angles.
- Although he wrote his Ph.D. on number theory, Daus was mainly interested in geometry and taught the geometry courses that Kelley attended.
- Earle Raymond Hedrick was the chair of the mathematics department at this time and Kelley attended courses that Hedrick taught, admiring his "flamboyant lecturing style." Kelley gave up the idea of being a high school teacher, dropped education courses, and concentrated on mathematics.
- With the idea now of becoming a mathematics lecturer, Kelley took advice on giving mathematics instruction from William Marvin Whyburn.
- Appointed to the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1928, he was able to give Kelley valuable advice on how to teach.
- Kelley graduated in 1936 and was appointed as a teaching assistant but W M Whyburn told him that to progress he required a Ph.D. The University of California, Los Angeles, had no doctoral programme at this time so in 1937 he went to the University of Virginia where W M Whyburn had arranged a teaching assistant position for him.
- G T Whyburn became Kelley's Ph.D. advisor.
- Research at the University of Virginia went well for Kelley and by 1939 he had two papers in print, namely Fixed sets under homeomorphisms and A metric connected with property S.
- Kelley was awarded a Ph.D. in June 1940 for his thesis A Study of Hyperspaces.
- He was appointed to the University of Michigan in 1940 and met Kelley at a topology conference held at the University of Michigan 24 June to 6 July 1940.
- Following the award of his Ph.D., Kelley took up an appointment at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
- On 16 October 1940 Kelley registered for the draft.
- His personal details were as follows: Employer - University of Notre Dame; Weight - 150 lbs; Complexion - Light; Eye Colour - Hazel; Hair Colour -Brown; Height: 5 ft 10 ins; Next of Kin - Nancy Kelley.
- He summoned Kelley to join his group, arranging for Kelley to be released from his teaching job at Notre Dame.
- Kelley spent the rest of the war in Aberdeen, where he wrote his first book, 'Exterior Ballistics' (1953), co-authored with McShane and Franklin V Reno.
- Kelley was at the Institute from September 1945 until June 1946.
- Despite enjoying the University of Chicago, when Kelley was approached by the University of California at Berkeley to accept a position there as Associate Professor he was persuaded.
- The time when Kelley was beginning his career at Berkeley coincided with heightened fears of Communism in the United States.
- Some staff refused to sign, including Kelley, and all those were made to appear before the Committee on Privilege and Tenure which, in June 1950, recommended that all but five should continue in employment.
- Kelley was one of the five to be fired.
- Kelley had never been a member of the Communist Party, but he still refused to sign.
- The general topology segment was based on Kelley's manuscript of the now classic book on the subject and was very polished.
- We students were fortunate that Kelley's book was not available then, for we had to work very hard to do all the assigned proofs on our own.
- Following his temporary position at Tulane University, Kelley spent the year 1952-53 at the University of Kansas.
- Kelley was back at Berkeley for the beginning of session 1953-54.
- Kelley chaired the Mathematics Department during 1957-60, initiating revolutionary changes in both curriculum and composition of the faculty.
- When Kelley became chair, Berkeley's Department of Mathematics was among the leaders in the areas of analysis and logic-foundations, but it recognized the need to build in other areas, notably geometry-topology and algebra.
- Kelley had the brilliant idea of trying to hire senior faculty members two-at-a-time.
- Both Kelley and Ying Lee were arrested during the protests.
- Kelley retired in 1985 but he did not give up mathematical research, continuing to collaborate with T P Srinivasan.
- Besides his accomplishments in mathematics and education, Kelley will be remembered for the twinkle in his eyes, for his infectious smile, and for his warm manner, which made everyone feel comfortable in his presence.
Born 6 December 1916, Merriam near Kansas City, Kansas, USA. Died 26 November 1999, Oakland, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Usa, Topology
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive