Harold Scott MacDonald "Donald" Coxeter
(February 9, 1907 – March 31, 2003) is
regarded as one of the great geometers
the 20th century. He was born in London but spent
most of his life in Canada.
In his youth, Coxeter composed music and showed great promise as a
pianist. Like many mathematicians, he felt that mathematics and music
for 60 years at the University of Toronto and published twelve books.
He was most noted for his work on
higher-dimensional geometries. He was a champion of the classical
approach to geometry, in a period when the tendency was to approach
geometry more and more via algebra.
went up to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1926 to read mathematics.
There he earned
his BA in 1928, and his doctorate in 1931. In 1932 he went to
University for a year as a Rockefeller Fellow, where he worked with
Hermann Weyl, Oswald Veblen, and Solomon Lefschetz.
Trinity for a year, he attended Ludwig Wittgenstein
's seminars on the
philosophy of mathematics
In 1934 he spent a further year at Princeton as a Procter
In 1936 Coxeter moved to the University of Toronto, becoming a
in 1948. He was elected a Fellow
of the Royal Society of
in 1948 and a Fellow of the Royal Society
1950. He met Maurits Escher
work on geometric figures helped inspire some of Escher's works,
particularly the Circle Limit
series based on hyperbolic tessellations
. He also inspired some of the
innovations of Buckminster
Coxeter, M. S. Longuet-Higgins
and J. C.
were the first to publish the full
list of uniform polyhedra
Since 1978 the Canadian
awards the Coxeter–James Prize
he became a Foreign Member of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences.
In 1997 he received Sylvester Medal
from the Royal Society
and was made a Companion
of the Order of Canada
- Coxeter, Longuet-Higgins, Miller, Uniform polyhedra,
1954, 246 A, 401–50.
- The Real Projective Plane (1949)
- Introduction to Geometry (1961)
- Regular Polytopes (1963), Macmillian Company
- Non-Euclidean Geometry (1965)
- Geometry Revisited (with S. L. Greitzer, 1967)
- Projective Geometry (2nd edition, 1974)
- Regular Complex Polytopes (1974), Cambridge University Press
- The Beauty of Geometry: Twelve Essays (1999), Dover
Publications, , ISBN 0-486-40919-8
- The Fifty-Nine
Icosahedra (with P. Du Val, H. T. Flather,
- Mathematical Recreations and Essays (with W. W.
- H. S. M. Coxeter (1907–2003), Erich W. Ellers, Branko Grünbaum, Peter McMullen, Asia Ivic
Weiss Notices of the AMS: Volume 50, Number 10.
- " The man who saved geometry: Crying `Death to
Triangles!' a generation of mathematicians tried to eliminate
geometry in favor of algebra. Were it not for Donald Coxeter, they
might have succeeded", by Siobhan Roberts, The Boston Globe, September 10, 2006.
- Jaron's World: Shapes in Other Dimensions,
Discover mag., Apr 2007
- The Mathematics in the Art of M.C. Escher video of a lecture by H.S.M. Coxeter,
April 28, 2000.
- HAROLD SCOTT MACDONALD COXETER 9 February 1907 --
31 March 2003 by Siobhan Roberts and Asia Ivić Weiss] in
Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (1955-2000), Volume 52
/ December 2006.