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Theodore Samuel Motzkin (26 March 1908–15 December 1970) was an Israeli-American mathematician.[1]


Motzkin's father, Leo Motzkin, was a noted Russian Zionist leader.

Motzkin received his Ph.D. in 1934 from the University of Basel under the supervision of Alexander Ostrowski.[2]

He was appointed at UCLA in 1950 and worked there until retirement.

He had three sons:

Aryeh Leo Motzkin - Orientalist
Gabriel Motzkin - philosopher
Elhanan Motzkin - mathematician

Contributions to mathematics

The Motzkin transposition theorem, Motzkin numbers and the Fourier–Motzkin elimination are named after him. Motzkin first developed the "double description" algorithm of polyhedral combinatorics and computational geometry.[3] He was the first to prove the existence of principal ideal domains that are not Euclidean domains, \Bbb{Z}\left[\frac{1+\sqrt{-19}}{2}\right] being his first example.

The quote "complete disorder is impossible," describing Ramsey theory is attributed to him.[4]
See also

Cyclic polytope
Pentagram map– related concept


^ Motzkin, Theodore S. (1983). David Cantor, Basil Gordon, and Bruce Rothschild. ed. Theodore S. Motzkin: Selected papers. Contemporary Mathematicians. Boston, Mass.: Birkhäuser. pp. xxvi+530. ISBN 3-7643-3087-2. MR 693096.
^ Theodore Motzkin at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
^ Motzkin, T. S.; Raiffa, H.; Thompson, G. L.; Thrall, R. M. (1953). "The double description method". Contributions to the theory of games. Annals of Mathematics Studies. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. pp. 51–73. MR 60202.
^ Hans Jürgen Prömel (2005). "Complete Disorder is Impossible: The Mathematical Work of Walter Deuber". Combinatorics, Probability and Computing (Cambridge University Press) 14: 3–16. doi:10.1017/S0963548304006674.

External links

O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Theodore Motzkin", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.

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