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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