Edwin Spanier

Edwin Henry Spanier (August 8, 1921 – October 11, 1996) was an American mathematician at the University of California at Berkeley, working in algebraic topology. He co-invented Spanier–Whitehead duality and Alexander–Spanier cohomology, and wrote what was for a long time the standard textbook on algebraic topology (Spanier 1981).

Edwin Spanier
Edwin Spanier 1986.jpg
Spanier in 1986
Born(1921-08-08)August 8, 1921
DiedOctober 11, 1996(1996-10-11) (aged 75)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
University of Minnesota
Known forAlexander–Spanier cohomology
Dubins–Spanier theorems
Spanier–Whitehead duality
Scientific career
InstitutionsUC Berkeley
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisorNorman Steenrod
Doctoral studentsMorris William Hirsch
Elon Lages Lima

Spanier attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1941. During World War II, he served in the United States Army Signal Corps. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1947 for the thesis Cohomology Theory for General Spaces written under the direction of Norman Steenrod. After spending a year as a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1948 he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Chicago, and then a professor at UC Berkeley in 1959. He had 17 doctoral students, including Morris Hirsch and Elon Lages Lima.


  • Spanier, Edwin H. (1981) [first published in 1966], Algebraic topology. Corrected reprint, New York-Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. xvi+528, ISBN 0-387-90646-0, MR 0666554