George W. Whitehead

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George William Whitehead, Jr.
Born (1918-08-02)August 2, 1918
Bloomington, Illinois
Died April 12, 2004(2004-04-12) (aged 85)
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater University of Chicago
Doctoral advisor Norman Steenrod
Doctoral students Robert Aumann
Edgar H. Brown, Jr. (de)
John Coleman Moore

George William Whitehead, Jr. (August 2, 1918 – April 12, 2004) was an American professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is known for his work on algebraic topology. He invented the J-homomorphism, and was among the first to systematically calculate the homotopy groups of spheres.

Whitehead was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1941, under the supervision of Norman Steenrod. After teaching at Purdue University, Princeton University, and Brown University, he took a position at MIT in 1949, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. He advised 13 Ph.D. students, including Robert Aumann and John Coleman Moore, and has over 750 academic descendants.[1]

Selected publications[edit]