Daniel Kan

Daniel Marinus Kan (or simply Dan Kan) (August 4, 1927 – August 4, 2013) was a Dutch mathematician working in homotopy theory. He was a prolific contributor to the field for six decades, having authored or coauthored several dozen research papers and monographs. The general theme of his career had been abstract homotopy theory.[1]

Daniel Kan
Daniel Kan.JPG
Daniel Kan at his home.
Born(1927-08-04)4 August 1927
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died4 August 2013(2013-08-04) (aged 86)
Alma materHebrew University of Jerusalem
Scientific career
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
ThesisAbstract Homotopy (1955)
Doctoral advisorSamuel Eilenberg
Doctoral studentsAldridge Bousfield
William Gerard Dwyer
Jeffrey H. Smith


He received his Ph.D. at Hebrew University in 1955, under the direction of Samuel Eilenberg. His students include Aldridge K. Bousfield, William Dwyer, Stewart Priddy, and Jeffrey H. Smith. He was an emeritus professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught since the early 1960s.


He played a role in the beginnings of modern homotopy theory perhaps analogous to that of Saunders Mac Lane in homological algebra, namely the adroit and persistent application of categorical methods. His most famous work is the abstract formulation of the discovery of adjoint functors, which dates from 1958.[2] The Kan extension is one of the broadest descriptions of a useful general class of adjunctions.

From the mid-1950s he made distinguished contributions to the theory of simplicial sets and simplicial methods in topology in general. In recognition of this, fibrations in the usual closed model category structure on the category of simplicial sets are known as Kan fibrations, and the fibrant objects are known as Kan complexes.

Some of Kan's later work concerned model categories and other homotopical categories. Especially noteworthy are his work with Aldridge Bousfield on completions and homotopy limits, and his work with William Dwyer on simplicial localizations of relative categories.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Daniel Kan in nLab". Ncatlab.org. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  2. ^ Kan, Daniel M. (1958). "Adjoint functors". Transactions of the American Mathematical Society. 87 (2): 294–329. doi:10.1090/S0002-9947-1958-0131451-0. ISSN 0002-9947.

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