Hubert Stanley Wall

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Hubert Stanley Wall
Born(1902-12-02)December 2, 1902
Rockwell City, Iowa
DiedSeptember 12, 1971(1971-09-12) (aged 68)
Austin, Texas
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
Known forContinued fractions
Moore method
Scientific career
InstitutionsNorthwestern University
Institute for Advanced Study
Illinois Institute of Technology
University of Texas
Doctoral advisorEdward Burr Van Vleck
Doctoral studentsDan Mauldin, Coke Reed[1]

Hubert Stanley Wall (December 2, 1902 – September 12, 1971)[2][3] was an American mathematician who worked primarily in the field of continued fractions. He is also known as one of the leading proponents of the Moore method of teaching.

Early life and education[edit]

Wall was born in Rockwell City, Iowa on December 2, 1902. He received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa in 1924. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin–Madison) in 1927.[3]

He married Mary Kate Parker, a lawyer and Texas assistant Attorney General. Her specialty was election law.


Upon receiving his Ph.D. Wall joined the faculty at Northwestern University and stayed until 1944 except for the academic year 1938–1939 when he was at the Institute for Advanced Study.[3] He then went to the Illinois Institute of Technology for two years before moving in 1946 to the University of Texas where he spent the rest of his career.[3][4]:235 He became an emeritus professor in 1970.[2]

Most of Wall's mathematical research was in various aspects of the analytic theory of continued fractions. This included the theory of positive-definite continued fractions, convergence results for continued fractions, parabola theorems, Hausdorff moments, and Hausdorff summability.[5] He studied the polynomials now named Wall polynomials after him.

While at Northwestern he started a collaboration with Ernst Hellinger, and he was very interested in Hellinger integrals throughout his career, but did publish anything on them.[3][4]:235 [5]

While at Texas Wall was a prominent practitioner of the Moore method of teaching. John Parker wrote, "Wall had long ago thrown himself wholeheartedly into the Moore tradition, with his own interpretation of the Moore method, and there was a good deal of cross pollination of students through their courses, some steered to the PhD by Moore and others by Wall and [Hyman J.] Ettlinger. Between them, they continued to dominate PhD guidance in Pure Mathematics throughout the 1950s and 1960s." [4]:285 The University of Texas memorial to Wall suggests that he may have picked up some of these ideas at Northwestern from Van Vleck and Hellinger and says, "Since there were already people on the Texas faculty who had used innovative techniques (chiefly Robert Lee Moore and some of his colleagues), Wall tried their methods. For him and for his students it was an unqualified success." [3]:3

Wall had 66 doctoral students, 61 at the University of Texas.[6]

Wall died in Austin on September 12, 1971.[2]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Wall, H. S. (2000) [1948]. Analytic Theory of Continued Fractions. Providence: American Mathematical Society. ISBN 978-0-8218-2106-0. OCLC 43311799.[7]
  • Wall, H. S. (1969) [1963]. Creative Mathematics. Univ of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-71039-9.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "Wall, Hubert Stanley". Who Was Who in America. V. Marquis Who's Who. 1973. p. 752. ISBN 0-8379-0205-3. OCLC 13864526.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "In Memoriam Hubert Stanley Wall" (PDF). Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches. University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  4. ^ a b c Parker, John (2005). R. L. Moore: Mathematician and Teacher. Mathematical Association of America. ISBN 0-88385-550-X. OCLC 57533062.
  5. ^ a b Bing, RH; Raymond L. Wilder; Walter Scott; Paul Olum; Lorene Rogers; William T. Eaton (1976-01-24). "Presentation Breakfast of The University of Texas at Austin Mathematics Award Honoring the Memory of Professor Robert Lee Moore and Professor Hubert Stanley Wall". University of Texas. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  6. ^ Hubert Stanley Wall – MGP
  7. ^ Thron, W. J. (1949). "Review: H. S. Wall, Analytic theory of continued fractions". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 55 (11): 1083–1085. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1949-09319-9.

External links[edit]