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Combinatorics: Ancient and Modern$
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Robin Wilson and John J. Watkins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656592

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656592.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 April 2021

Early graph theory

Early graph theory

(p.183) Chapter 8 Early graph theory
Combinatorics: Ancient and Modern


Oxford University Press

The origins of graph theory are humble, even frivolous. Whereas many branches of mathematics were motivated by fundamental problems of calculation, motion, and measurement, the problems which led to the development of graph theory were often little more than puzzles, designed to test the ingenuity rather than to stimulate the imagination. But despite the apparent triviality of such puzzles, they captured the interest of mathematicians, with the result that graph theory has become a subject rich in theoretical results of a surprising variety and depth. So begins the book Graph Theory 1736–1936 [3], which chronicles the history of graph theory from Euler’s treatment of the Königsberg bridges problem in the 1730s to the explosion of activity in the area in the 20th century. This chapter, and Chapter 14, presents the story.

Keywords:   graph theory, Euler, Kösberg bridges problem, 20th century

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