Veblen's theorem

In mathematics, Veblen's theorem, introduced by Oswald Veblen (1912), states that the set of edges of a finite graph can be written as a union of disjoint simple cycles if and only if every vertex has even degree. Thus, it is closely related to the theorem of Euler (1736) that a finite graph has an Euler tour (a single non-simple cycle that covers the edges of the graph) if and only if it is connected and every vertex has even degree. Indeed, a representation of a graph as a union of simple cycles may be obtained from an Euler tour by repeatedly splitting the tour into smaller cycles whenever there is a repeated vertex. However, Veblen's theorem applies also to disconnected graphs, and can be generalized to infinite graphs in which every vertex has finite degree (Sabidussi 1964).

If a countably infinite graph G has no odd-degree vertices, then it may be written as a union of disjoint (finite) simple cycles if and only if every finite subgraph of G can be extended (by adding more edges and vertices of G) to a finite Eulerian graph. In particular, every countably infinite graph with only one end and with no odd vertices can be written as a union of disjoint cycles (Sabidussi 1964).

See also


  • Euler, L. (1736), "Solutio problematis ad geometriam situs pertinentis" (PDF), Commentarii Academiae Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae, 8: 128–140. Reprinted and translated in Biggs, N. L.; Lloyd, E. K.; Wilson, R. J. (1976), Graph Theory 1736–1936, Oxford University Press.
  • Sabidussi, Gert (1964), "Infinite Euler graphs", Canadian Journal of Mathematics, 16: 821–838, doi:10.4153/CJM-1964-078-x, MR 0169236.
  • Veblen, Oswald (1912), "An Application of Modular Equations in Analysis Situs", Annals of Mathematics, Second Series, 14 (1): 86–94, doi:10.2307/1967604, JSTOR 1967604
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