Gordon Thomas Whyburn

Gordon Thomas Whyburn (7 January 1904 Lewisville, Texas – 8 September 1969 Charlottesville, Virginia) was an American mathematician who worked on topology.

Gordon Thomas Whyburn
Born(1904-01-07)7 January 1904
Died8 September 1969(1969-09-08) (aged 65)
Known forTopology
AwardsChauvenet Prize (1938)
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorR. L. Moore
Doctoral students

Whyburn studied at the University of Texas in Austin, where he received a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1925. Under the influence of his teacher Robert Lee Moore, Whyburn continued to study at Austin but changed to mathematics and earned a master's degree in mathematics in 1926 and then a PhD in 1927. After two years as an adjunct professor at U. of Texas, with the aid of a Guggenheim fellowship Whyburn spent the academic year 1929/1930 in Vienna with Hans Hahn and in Warsaw with Kuratowski and Sierpinski. After the fellowship expired, Whyburn became a professor at Johns Hopkins University. From 1934 he was a professor at the University of Virginia, where he modernized the mathematics department and spent the rest of his career. He was chair of the department until his first heart attack in 1966; Edward J. McShane joined the department in 1935, and Gustav A. Hedlund was a member of the department from 1939 to 1948. In the academic year 1952/1953 Whyburn was a visiting professor at Stanford University. In 1953–1954 he served as president of the American Mathematical Society.

Whyburn was awarded the Chauvenet Prize in 1938[1] and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1951. His doctoral students include John L. Kelley and Alexander Doniphan Wallace.[2]

His brother William Marvin Whyburn (1901–1972) was a mathematics professor at UCLA and became known for his work on ordinary differential equations.[3]


  • Whyburn, Gordon Thomas (1942), Analytic Topology, American Mathematical Society Colloquium Publications, 28, Providence, R.I.: American Mathematical Society, ISBN 978-0-8218-1028-6, MR 0007095
  • Whyburn, Gordon Thomas (1958), Topological analysis, Princeton Mathematical Series, 23, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-08054-3, MR 0099642
  • Whyburn, Gordon; Duda, Edwin (1979), Dynamic topology, Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics, Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-0-387-90358-3, MR 0526764


  1. Whyburn, G. T. (1936). "On the Structure of Continua". Bulletin of the AMS. 42: 49–73.
  2. Gordon Thomas Whyburn at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. Reid, W. T. (1973). "William M. Whyburn 1901-1972". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 79 (6): 1175–1183. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1973-13369-5.
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