**Rimhak Ree** was a Korean-born Canadian mathematician who worked in group theory.

- Ree graduated from the school in 1939 and began his university studies.
- Ree entered Keijo Imperial University in 1939 and there he studied mathematics and physics in the Physics Department.
- Ree graduated in 1944 from Keijo University in 1944 with a degree in physics (the university did not offer degrees in mathematics) and went to Fengtianfu in Manchukuo.
- Today this city is known as Shenyang and it is in China but in 1944 when Ree went there it was, like Korea, under Japanese rule.
- Ree returned to his home town of Hamhung in Korea just before the Japanese surrender.
- In early 1947 Ree began teaching at Seoul National University as an assistant professor.
- Later that year, in Namdaemun Market a large traditional market near the southern gate of the city of Seoul, Ree found the current issue of the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society which had been left there unintentionally by some American soldiers.
- In the Bulletin Ree found the paper Note on power series by Max Zorn in which Zorn solved a problem originally posed by Salomon Bochner about the convergence of certain power series with complex coefficients.
- Ree managed to solve the problem and sent his solution to Max Zorn.
- When Zorn received Ree's solution he was impressed and sent it to the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.
- Strangely, the 1947 paper by Zorn was the last paper he published for, despite still being a young man who carried on doing mathematics for another 45 years, he gave up publishing at this point in his career.
- One might imagine that Ree would be overjoyed to have his first paper published in a prestigious journal but he did not realise that the paper had been published for over five years after he sent his solution to Zorn.
- Ree fled to Pusan, in the south east of the Korean peninsular and, by September 1950, only Pusan was in the hands of the United Nations which had come to the aid of the South.
- In 1953 Ree was awarded a Canadian Scholarship to allow him to study for a Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
- However, he had already published a number of papers on group theory such as On ordered, finitely generated, solvable groups (1954), (with Robert J Wisner) A note on torsion-free nil groups (1956), and The existence of outer automorphisms of some groups (1956).
- Following the award of his doctorate, Ree was appointed as a lecturer at Montana State University.
- We have painted a very positive picture of Ree's work in Canada, but he had some hard times getting the right to work.
- In the summer of 1955 Ree received a grant from the National Research Council of Canada and he worked with Jennings on Lie algebras.
- In 1957 Ree published his first paper on finite simple groups, the topic for which he is best known today.
- In this paper On some simple groups defined by C Chevalley, Ree identifies many classes of finite simple groups defined by Claude Chevalley in his ground-breaking 1955 paper, with classes of classical simple groups.
- The Suzuki and Ree groups together with those of Chevalley and Steinberg are collectively referred to as the simple groups of Lie type.
- Ree was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1964.
- His fame is proved by the fact that over 90 papers of research on Ree Group were published during the 1984-1994 period.

Born 18 December 1922, Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, Korea (now North Korea). Died 9 January 2005, Vancouver, Canada.

View full biography at MacTutor

Group Theory, Origin North Korea

**Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive