Walter Gottschalk

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Walter Helbig Gottschalk (1918–2004) was an American mathematician, one of the founders of topological dynamics.

Biography[edit]

Gottschalk was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, on November 3, 1918, and moved to Salem, Virginia as a child.[1][2] His father, Carl Gottschalk, was a German immigrant who worked as a machinist and later owned several small businesses in Salem; his younger brother, Carl W. Gottschalk, became a notable medical researcher.[3]

Gottschalk did both his undergraduate studies and graduate studies at the University of Virginia, finishing with a Ph.D. in 1944 under the supervision of Gustav A. Hedlund.[1][2][4] After graduating, he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, and was chair of the Pennsylvania mathematics department from 1954 to 1958.[1][2][5] In the academic year 1947/1948 he was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study.[6] At Pennsylvania, his students included Philip Rabinowitz, known for his work in numerical analysis.[4] Gottschalk moved to Wesleyan University in 1963; at Wesleyan, he also served two terms as chair before retiring in 1982.[1][2] He died on February 15, 2004, in Providence, Rhode Island, where he had lived since his retirement.[1]

Contributions[edit]

Gottschalk and his advisor Gustav Hedlund wrote the 1955 monograph Topological Dynamics.[1][7][8] Other research contributions of Gottschalk include the first study of surjunctive groups[9] and a short proof of the De Bruijn–Erdős theorem on coloring infinite graphs.[10]

As well as being a research mathematician, Gottschalk also put on two exhibits of mathematical sculptures in the 1960s.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

Gottschalk was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Gottschalk, W. H. (1951), "Choice functions and Tychonoff's theorem", Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society 2: 172, doi:10.2307/2032641, MR 0040376 .
  • Gottschalk, Walter Helbig; Hedlund, Gustav Arnold (1955), Topological dynamics, American Mathematical Society Colloquium Publications 36, Providence, R. I.: American Mathematical Society, MR 0074810 .
  • Gottschalk, Walter (1973), "Some general dynamical notions", Recent Advances in Topological Dynamics (Proc. Conf. Topological Dynamics, Yale Univ., New Haven, Conn., 1972; in honor of Gustav Arnold Hedlund), Lecture Notes in Math. 318, Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 120–125, doi:10.1007/BFb0061728, MR 0407821 .

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h About the author, Gottschalk's Gestalts, retrieved 2012-11-21.
  2. ^ a b c d Walter H. Gottschalk, Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association Hall of Fame, retrieved 2012-11-21.
  3. ^ "Carl W. Gottschalk", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 77, 1999: 122–141 
  4. ^ a b Walter Helbig Gottschalk at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ Tenured faculty 1899– and Past department chairs, Univ. of Pennsylvania Dept. of Mathematics, retrieved 2012-11-21.
  6. ^ Gottschalk, Walter H., Institute for Advanced Study
  7. ^ Review of Topological Dynamics by Y. N. Dowker, MR 0074810.
  8. ^ Halmos, Paul R. (1955), "Book Review: W. H. Gottschalk and G. A. Hedlund, Topological dynamics", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 61 (6): 584–588, doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1955-09999-3, MR 1565733 .
  9. ^ Gottschalk (1973).
  10. ^ Gottschalk (1951).