Richard M. Wilson

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Richard Michael Wilson (called Rick Wilson, also cited as RM Wilson; born November 23, 1945 ) is an American mathematician . He deals with combinatorics .

Wilson studied at Indiana State University (bachelor's degree in 1966) and Ohio State University , where he received his master's degree in 1967 and his PhD in 1968 with DK Ray-Chaudhuri (An existence theory for pairwise balanced designs). He then taught at Ohio State University and later from the 1980s at Caltech . Since 1984 he has been leading the combinatorial seminar there.

Wilson solved Thomas Kirkman's problem of 15 school girls with his teacher Ray-Chaudhuri in 1968 (existence of the solution in the general case of any number of school girls) and in the 1970s he proved the existence of feasible designs with r = 2 for sufficiently large n. With Jacobus Hendricus van Lint he wrote a widespread combinatorics textbook.

In 1975 he received the George Pólya Prize for his contributions to combinatorics .


  • with Jacobus Hendricus van Lint : A Course in Combinatorics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 1992, ISBN 0-521-42260-4 (several reprints).
  • with DK Ray-Chaudhuri: Solution of Kirkman's schoolgirl problem, in: Combinatorics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1968, Proc. Sympos. Pure Math, American Mathematical Society, Volume 19, 1971, pp. 187-203
  • An existence theory of pairwise balanced designs, Parts 1-3, J. Combinatorial Theory A, Volume 13, 1972, pp. 220-245, 246-273, Volume 18, 1975, pp. 71-79
  • Non-isomorphic Steiner Tripel systems, Mathematische Zeitschrift, Volume 135, 1974, 303-313

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