Topology - History


Topology began with the investigation of certain questions in geometry. Leonhard Euler's 1736 paper on the Seven Bridges of Königsberg is regarded as one of the first academic treatises in modern topology.

The term "Topologie" was introduced in German in 1847 by Johann Benedict Listing in Vorstudien zur Topologie, who had used the word for ten years in correspondence before its first appearance in print. "Topology," its English form, was first used in 1883 in Listing's obituary in the journal Nature to distinguish "qualitative geometry from the ordinary geometry in which quantitative relations chiefly are treated". The term topologist in the sense of a specialist in topology was used in 1905 in the magazine Spectator. However, none of these uses corresponds exactly to the modern definition of topology.

Modern topology depends strongly on the ideas of set theory, developed by Georg Cantor in the later part of the 19th century. Cantor, in addition to establishing the basic ideas of set theory, considered point sets in Euclidean space as part of his study of Fourier series.

Henri Poincaré published Analysis Situs in 1895, introducing the concepts of homotopy and homology, which are now considered part of algebraic topology.

Maurice Fréchet, unifying the work on function spaces of Cantor, Volterra, Arzelà, Hadamard, Ascoli, and others, introduced the metric space in 1906. A metric space is now considered a special case of a general topological space. In 1914, Felix Hausdorff coined the term "topological space" and gave the definition for what is now called a Hausdorff space. In current usage, a topological space is a slight generalization of Hausdorff spaces, given in 1922 by Kazimierz Kuratowski.

For further developments, see point-set topology and algebraic topology.

Read more about this topic:  Topology

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