William Tutte Pure and Applied Mathematics

Discoverer of Tutte’s Theorem

The Story

During his early schooling, Tutte became fascinated by prime numbers, as well as by articles on astronomy and other sciences in a children’s encyclopedia. He studied the natural sciences at Cambridge University in England, but became more and more interested in mathematics. His experience cracking secret codes during World War II gained him a fellowship at Trinity College where he became particularly well known for his papers on Graph Theory — the mathematics of the combinations of connections between points on a plane or in other dimensions. He was a professor of mathematics at the University of Toronto from 1948 to 1962, then fellow mathematician, H.M.S. Coxeter, helped him get a post at University of Waterloo, Ontario, where he worked until retirement in 1985. He is the author of several books including Graph Theory As I Have Known It, reissued in August 1998.

Read about Dr. Tutte's work on cryptography in the 1940's, when he tackled a complex German code which his team called FISH.

Sources: In Celebration of Scientists; Canadian Who’s Who 1993; Image: Dr Tutte's website


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The Person

May 14, 1917
Newmarket, England
Mathematician; Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Department of Combinatorics and Optimization
University of Waterloo
  • BA, Cambridge, 1938
  • MSc, Cambridge, 1941
  • PhD, Cambridge, 1948
  • Tory Medal (Royal Society of Canada), 1975
  • Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Prize, 1982
  • Fellow, Royal Society of London, 1987
Last Updated
September 17, 2015

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