William Fogg Osgood
William Fogg Osgood.jpg
Born(1864-03-10)March 10, 1864
DiedJuly 22, 1943(1943-07-22) (aged 79)
Resting placeForest Hills Cemetery, Boston
Alma materHarvard University, University of Göttingen, Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg
Known forComplex analysis, conformal mapping, calculus of variations
Spouse(s)Teresa Osgood, Celeste Phelpes Morse
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard University, Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg
Doctoral studentsDavid Raymond Curtiss

William Fogg Osgood (March 10, 1864, Boston – July 22, 1943, Belmont, Massachusetts) was an American mathematician.

Education and career

In 1886, he graduated from Harvard, where, after studying at the universities of Göttingen (1887–1889) and Erlangen (Ph.D., 1890), he was instructor (1890–1893), assistant professor (1893–1903), and thenceforth professor of mathematics. From 1918 to 1922, he was chairman of the department of mathematics at Harvard. He became professor emeritus in 1933. From 1934 to 1936, he was visiting professor of mathematics at Peking University.[1]

From 1899 to 1902, he served as editor of the Annals of Mathematics, and in 1905–1906 was president of the American Mathematical Society, whose Transactions he edited in 1909–1910.


The works of Osgood dealt with complex analysis, in particular conformal mapping and uniformization of analytic functions, and calculus of variations. He was invited by Felix Klein to write an article on complex analysis in the Enzyklopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften which was later expanded in the book Lehrbuch der Funktionentheorie.

Osgood curves, Jordan curves with positive area, are named after Osgood, who published a paper proving their existence in 1903.[2]

Besides his research on analysis, Osgood was also interested in mathematical physics and wrote on the theory of the gyroscope.

Awards and honors

In 1904, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


Osgood's cousin, Louise Osgood, was the mother of Bernard Koopman.[3]

Selected publications

Osgood's books include:

See also


  1. ^ Koopman 1944
  2. ^ Osgood, William F. (1903), "A Jordan Curve of Positive Area" (PDF), Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, 4 (1): 107–112, doi:10.1090/S0002-9947-1903-1500628-5, ISSN 0002-9947, JFM 34.0533.02, JSTOR 1986455, MR 1500628.
  3. ^ See his obituary by Morse (1982).


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. ((cite encyclopedia)): Missing or empty |title= (help)