Ronnie Brown


I am Professor Emeritus at Bangor University. I was an undergraduate and postgraduate at Oxford University (1953-1959), where my supervisor was the inimitable Henry Whitehead. When he died suddenly in 1960, Michael Barratt took charge, and I got my DPhil in 1962. I was lecturer at Liverpool (1959-64), Senior Lecturer and then Reader at Hull University (1964-1970), and then Professor at Bangor from 1970.

I published a text "Elements of Modern Topology" with McGraw Hill in 1968, and the 3rd edition is now available as "Topology and Groupoids" from amazon, see my web page. It was writing this book, and trying to clarify certain points, such as the fundamental group of the circle, that got me into the area of groupoids; this suggested the area of higher groupoids; research on this got going in the 1970s, and has been a major area in my work, with fortunate collaborations, and contributions from research students.

You can see most of my publications on my web site, on such topics as general topology, algebraic topology, group theory, category theory, with many on aspects of groupoids and their generalisations. There are also papers on popularisation and teaching, and on the sculptor John Robinson. One main book is the editions (1968, 1988) of the book which is now "Topology and groupoids" (2006), the last published privately to keep the price down.

I am also a joint author of a 703 page book "Nonabelian algebraic topology" published in 2011 by the European Mathematical Society. It sets out a quite new framework for basic algebraic topology, based on work over 40 years, mainly jointly with Philip Higgins, on the development and applications of higher order Seifert-van Kampen theorems, and related results. A pdf is available on my web page.

I have given a number of general lectures, to audiences from children to other scientists, including a Royal Institution Friday Evening Discourse "Out of Line" in 1992. Links to this and to various articles and presentations are available from my Preprint page and from my Popularisation and Teaching page.

See also the Popularisation of Mathematics web site for symbolic sculptures and knots!