Alfred W. Hales

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Alfred Washington Hales (born November 30, 1938) is an American mathematician, a professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and one of the namesakes of the Hales–Jewett theorem. He was born in Pasadena, California.[1]

Professional career[edit]

As an undergraduate, Hales was a two-time Putnam Fellow for the California Institute of Technology, in 1958 and 1959.[2] Hales stayed at Caltech for his graduate studies, earning his Ph.D. in 1962 under the supervision of Robert P. Dilworth.[3] He is the former chair of the mathematics department at UCLA, and in 2010 became chair of the board of trustees of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA.[4]


The Hales–Jewett theorem was published by Hales and Jewett in 1963. Now a standard part of Ramsey theory, Hales and Jewett motivated their theorem as a form of game theory: it shows that certain high-dimensional generalizations of tic tac toe cannot have any tied positions.

Hales also contributed to Solomon W. Golomb's highly cited work on shift registers,[5] and he has been noted for his work using Ulm invariants to characterize infinite abelian groups.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1971, Hales shared the George Pólya Prize with Ronald Graham, Klaus Leeb, Bruce Lee Rothschild, and R. I. Jewett, for their work in Ramsey theory.[7] In 2009, Hales was elected a Fellow of the AAAS,[6] and in 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[8]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Hales, A. W.; Jewett, R. I. (1963), "Regularity and positional games", Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, 106: 222–229, doi:10.2307/1993764, MR 0143712 


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ The Mathematical Association of America's William Lowell Putnam Competition, retrieved 2013-01-21.
  3. ^ Alfred Washington Hales at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ Al Hales Chairs IPAM Board of Trustees, IPAM News & Announcements, July 15, 2010, retrieved 2013-01-21.
  5. ^ Shift Register Sequences, Solomon W. Golomb with portions co-authored by Lloyd R. Welch, Richard M. Goldstein, and Alfred W. Hales, Aegean Park Press, 1982.
  6. ^ a b 6 UCLA professors named fellows by American Association for the Advancement of Science, Stuart Wolpert, UCLA, December 17, 2009, retrieved 2013-01-21.
  7. ^ The George Pólya Prize, MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, retrieved 2013-01-21.
  8. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-01-21.