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Biographical Memoirs Volume 81 (2002) / Chapter Skim
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R. H. Bing
Pages 48-65

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From page 49...
... He was a mathematician of international renown, having written seminal research papers in general en cl geometric topology. The Bing-Nagata-Smirnov metrication theorem is a fundamental result in general topology that provicles a characterization of which topological spaces are generates!
From page 50...
... He hacl a strong Texas cirawl, which became more pronounced proportionate to his distance from Texas, and he spoke a little louder than was absolutely necessary for hearing alone. He might be called boisterous with the youthful vigor en cl playful curiosity that he exuclecl throughout his life.
From page 51...
... CaTc~well and Blaine Perkins Kerr Centennial Professor in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin, but his first academic appointment was as teacher at Palestine High School in Palestine, Texas. There his duties incluclecl coaching the football en cl track teams, teaching mathematics classes, en cl teaching a variety of other classes, one of which was typing.
From page 52...
... One wonclers if those football boosters of a bygone clay in Palestine complainecl to the local school board about a real mathematics teacher coaching the football team. In an effort to improve public school education in the 1930s, the Texas legislature approval a policy whereby a teacher with a master's degree wouic!
From page 53...
... degree in May 1945, and in June 1945 he proved a famous, longstanding unsolvecl problem of the clay known as the Kline sphere characterization problem (1946~. This conjecture states that a metric continuum in which every simple closecl curve separates but for which no pair of points separates the space is homeomorphic to the 2-sphere.
From page 54...
... He returned to the University of Texas at Austin in 1973, but it was cluring his tenure at the University of Wisconsin, Maclison, that his most important mathematical work was clone en cl his prominent position in the mathematical community establishecI. Bing's early mathematical work primarily concerned topics in general topology and continua theory.
From page 55...
... He defined and discussed screenable spaces, strongly screenable spaces, and perfectly screenable spaces terms that have been largely replaced by new terminology.
From page 56...
... After identifying this important property of collectionwise normality he explorecl its limits by constructing an example of a normal space that is not collectionwise normal. Bing was known for his imaginative naming of spaces en cl concepts, but this example enjoys its enduring fame uncler the mundane moniker of "Example G." Immediately following his description of Example G
From page 57...
... It became interesting to know whether one couIcl clo a similar shrinking without lengthening the bancisin other worcis, couIcl you clo the same thing with string as Bing had proved could be done with rubber. Bing's original procedure hacl been stucliecl by numerous graduate stuclents en cl research mathematicians for more than 30 years and yet no one had been able to significantly improve Bing's shrinking method.
From page 58...
... He proved that every surface in 3-space contains tame arcs (1962)
From page 59...
... He was president of the American Mathematical Society in 1977-78. He retired from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 as the Milcirecl Calc~well en cl Blaine Perkins Kerr Centennial Professor in Mathematics.
From page 60...
... During his years in Wisconsin Bing clirectecl a very effective training program for future topologists. The first-year graduate topology class, which he often taught there, wouic!
From page 61...
... When he accepted the position at UT, he came with the iclea of buckling the mathematics clepartment into one of the top 10 state university mathematics departments in the country. While he was at Texas from ~ 973 until his cleath in ~ 986, he helpec!
From page 62...
... to unclerstancl a theorem unless he personally knew a proof of it. He macle decisions basecl on his own experience, relying on his inclepenclent judgment of a person or a cause whenever possible rather than averaging the opinions of others.
From page 63...
... 56:354-62. 1953 A connected countable Hausdorff space.
From page 64...
... A complete elementary proof that Hilbert space is homeomorphic to the countable infinite product of lines.
From page 65...
... 40. Providence, R.I: American Mathematical Society.


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