Professor Walter H. Gottschalk taught and was Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics at both the University of Pennsylvania and
His field of research was Dynamical Topology, also known as
. In the early 1940's, he
and his doctoral advisor at the University of Virginia, G. A. Hedlund, introduced the field of topological dynamics, the
abstract study of those properties of the set of all solutions of a differential equation which can be determined without
solving the equation. He obtained many of the early results in the field. In 1955 he and Dr. Hedlund published the seminal
monograph "Topological Dynamics."
He had a keen interest in the relationship of art and mathematics, particularly in the development of three
dimensional objects and sculpture. He exhibited his constructed polyhedra at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia in 1963,
and had a one man exhibit of constructed polyhedra, "Mathematical Sculpture: Polyhedral Forms" at the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University in 1965.
He published extensively and was very active with the American Mathematical Society.
He also was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Walter Gottschalk was born in Lynchburg and grew up in Salem, Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia where he
received his B. S. degree in 1939, his M. A. in 1942 and his Ph. D. in 1944. Following this he started his teaching
career at the University of Pennsylvania in 1944 where he was Chairman of the Department of Mathematics from 1954-58.
He spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 1947 to 1948. He moved to Wesleyan University in
1963 as a Professor and served as Chairman of the Mathematics Department from 1964-69 and 1970-71.
He moved to Providence, RI after his retirement from Wesleyan University in 1982, and died
in Providence on Sunday February 15, 2004 at the age of 85.