Person: Spanier, Edwin Henry
Edwin Spanier was an American mathematician who worked in algebraic topology. He wrote one of the standard textbooks in the subject.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The Second World War meant that Spanier spent three years doing army service before studying for his doctorate.
- After his three years of army service, Spanier studied for his doctorate at the University of Michigan.
- Spanier's doctoral supervisor was Norman Steenrod and under his supervision Spanier wrote a thesis on algebraic topology for which he was awarded his doctorate in 1947.
- The following year Spanier spent as a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
- During the time he held a post at Chicago, Spanier spent the year 1952-53 in Paris supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the year 1958-59 as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study.
- Then in 1959 Spanier was appointed as professor of mathematics at Berkeley.
- At Berkeley, Spanier built up a strong group working in geometry and topology by several appointments of topologists to the faculty of Berkeley and also by attracting many top topologists to spend periods as visitors at Berkeley.
- From the time of his doctoral work until around the time of the publication of his classic teext algebraic topology in 1966, Spanier work almost exclusively on algebraic topology.
- Chern was appointed professor of geometry at Chicago in 1949, the year following Spanier's appointment, and the two began the study of homology groups of fibre spaces with their joint paper The homology structure of sphere bundles in 1950.
- Spanier began joint work with Henry Whitehead and in a series of papers they introduced the method of duality in homotopy theory.
- Interestingly, one of Spanier's theories, now called Alexander-Spanier homology, is currently being applied to analyse differential equations - a return to Poincaré's original use of algebraic topology.
- Spanier returned to algebraic topology for the publications in the last years of his life.
Born 8 August 1921, Washington, D.C., USA. Died 11 October 1996, Scottsdale, Arizona, 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