Paul Monsky

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Paul Monsky

Paul Monsky (born June 17, 1936) is an American mathematician and professor at Brandeis University.

After earning a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College, he received his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Chicago under the supervision of Walter Bailey.[1] He has introduced the Monsky-Washnitzer cohomology and he has worked intensively on Hilbert–Kunz functions and Hilbert–Kunz multiplicity. In 2007, Monsky and Brenner gave an example showing that tight closure does not commute with localization.

Monsky's theorem, the statement that a square cannot be divided into an odd number of equal-area triangles, is named after Monsky, who published the first proof of it in 1970.[2]

In the mid-1970s, Monsky stopped paying U.S. federal income tax in protest against military spending. He resisted income tax withholding by claiming extra exemptions, and this led to a criminal conviction on tax charges in 1980.[3]


  1. ^ Paul Monsky at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Aigner, Martin; Ziegler, Günter M. (2010), "One square and an odd number of triangles", Proofs from The Book (4th ed.), Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 131–138, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-00856-6_20 .
  3. ^ “Professor to Face Trial In Antiwar Tax Protest” New York Times 10 March 1980, p. D8; Syre, Steven W. “More Individuals, Groups Refuse to Pay Taxes” (UPI dispatch as found in) The Bryan Times 10 April 1980, p. 12

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