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Mary Ellen Rudin (born December 7, 1924, Hillsboro, Texas) is an American mathematician.

Born Mary Ellen Estill, she attended the University of Texas, completing her B.A. in 1944 and her Ph.D. in 1949, under Robert Lee Moore.[1] In 1953, she married the mathematician Walter Rudin. Following her mentor Moore, her research centers on point-set topology. She was appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin in 1971, and is currently a Professor Emerita there. She served as vice-president of the American Mathematical Society, 1980–1981. In 1984 she was selected to be a Noether Lecturer. She is an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995).

Rudin is best known in topology for her constructions of counterexamples to well-known conjectures. Most famously, she was the first to construct a Dowker space, thus disproving a conjecture of Dowker's that had stood, and helped drive topological research, for more than twenty years. She also proved the first Morita conjecture and a restricted version of the second.[2] Her latest major result was a proof of Nikiel's conjecture.[3] Rudin's Erdős number is 1.

"Reading the articles of Mary Ellen Rudin, studying them until there is no mystery takes hours and hours; but those hours are rewarded, the student obtains power to which few have access. They are not hard to read, they are just hard mathematics, that's all." (Steve Watson[4])

She resides in Madison, Wisconsin, in the Rudin House, a home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.


1. ^ Mary Ellen Rudin at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
2. ^ K. Chiba, T.C. Przymusiński, M.E. Rudin, "Normality of products and Morita's conjectures" Topol. Appl. 22 (1986) 19–32
3. ^ M.E. Rudin, "Nikiel's Conjecture" Topol. Appl. 116 (2001) 305-331
4. ^ W. S. Watson: Mary Ellen Rudin's early work on Suslin spaces, in: The work of Mary Ellen Rudin, (Madison, WI, 1991), 168–182, Ann. New York Acad. Sci., 705, New York Acad. Sci., New York, 1993;

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Mary Ellen Rudin", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, .
* "Mary Ellen Rudin", Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College


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