Topology in 1930s America: A Tale of Two "Camps"

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Streaming Media

Publication Date



By the 1930s, two rival "camps" of topology had evolved in the United States: point-set topology animated by Robert L. Moore at the University of Texas and combinatorial (or algebraic) topology fostered by Oswald Veblen and, especially, Solomon Lefschetz at Princeton. This talk will sketch the contours of the American topological landscape in the decade before the outbreak of World War II and highlight the differences and divisions between the adherents of the two approaches as they jockeyed for influence within the American mathematical research community.


This presentation was part of the Orange County Inland Empire (OCIE) Seminar series in History and Philosophy of Mathematics in spring 2024.