Neil Robertson (mathematician)
|Born||November 30, 1938
|Residence||United States, Canada|
|Institutions||The Ohio State University|
|Alma mater||University of Waterloo, 1969|
|Doctoral advisor||William Tutte|
|Doctoral students||Paul A. Catlin|
|Known for||Robertson–Seymour theorem|
|Notable awards||Pólya Prize (SIAM) (2004, 2006)|
George Neil Robertson (born 1938) is a mathematician working mainly in topological graph theory, currently a distinguished professor emeritus at the Ohio State University. He earned his Ph.D. in 1969 at the University of Waterloo under his doctoral advisor William Tutte. According to the criteria of the Erdős Number Project, Robertson has an Erdős number of 3, but it can be lowered to 2 if an obituary he coauthored with Arthur M. Hobbs is counted.
In 1969, Robertson joined the faculty of The Ohio State University, where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1972 and Professor in 1984. He was a consultant with Bell Communications Research from 1984 to 1996. He has held visiting faculty positions in many institutions, most extensively at Princeton University from 1996 to 2001, and at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in 2002. He also holds an adjunct position at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia.
Robertson is known for his work in graph theory, and particularly for a long series of papers co-authored with Paul Seymour and published over a span of many years, in which they proved the Robertson–Seymour theorem (formerly Wagner's Conjecture). This states that families of graphs closed under the graph minor operation may be characterized by a finite set of forbidden minors. As part of this work, Robertson and Seymour also proved the graph structure theorem describing the graphs in these families.
Additional major results in Robertson's research include the following:
- In 1964, Robertson discovered the Robertson graph, the smallest possible 4-regular graph with girth five.
- In 1994, with Seymour and Robin Thomas, Robertson extended the number of colors for which the Hadwiger conjecture relating graph coloring to graph minors is known to be true. As of 2012 this remains the strongest known result on this conjecture.
- In 1996, Robertson, Seymour, Thomas, and Daniel P. Sanders published a new proof of the four color theorem, confirming the Appel–Haken proof which until then had been disputed. Their proof also leads to an efficient algorithm for finding 4-colorings of planar graphs.
- In 2006, Robertson, Seymour, Thomas, and Maria Chudnovsky, proved the long-conjectured strong perfect graph theorem characterizing the perfect graphs by forbidden induced subgraphs.
Awards and honors
Robertson has won the Fulkerson Prize three times, in 1994 for his work on the Hadwiger conjecture, in 2006 for the Robertson–Seymour theorem, and in 2009 for his proof of the strong perfect graph theorem.
He also won the Pólya Prize (SIAM) in 2004, the OSU Distinguished Scholar Award in 1997, and the Waterloo Alumni Achievement Medal in 2002. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
- Neil Robertson awarded the title of Distinguished Professor, David Goss, Ohio State, 2006-09-26.
- Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit (9 December 2011), "Saudi Universities offer cash in exchange for academic prestige", Science 334 (6061): 1344–1345, doi:10.1126/science.334.6061.1344.
- G. Neil (George) Robertson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Collaboration Distance report from MathSciNet, Retrieved September 21, 2006.
- Delbert Rey Fulkerson Prize, American Mathematical Society, accessed 2012-01-03.
- List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-07-07.
- Neil Robertson's homepage at Ohio State University
- Short conference video. Neil Robertson - Some thoughts on Hadwiger's Conjecture. June 28, 1999. Video produced by Bojan Mohar.