Background
Thomas Room was born on 10 November 1902, near London, England.
Thomas Room was born on 10 November 1902, near London, England.
He studied mathematics in Street John"s College, Cambridge, and was a wrangler in 1923. He returned to Cambridge in 1927, at which time he completed his Doctor of Philosophy, with a thesis supervised by H. F. Baker. Room"s Doctor of Philosophy work concerned generalizations of the Schläfli double six, a configuration formed by the 27 lines on a cubic algebraic surface.
He continued at Cambridge as a graduate student, and was elected as a fellow in 1925, but instead took a position at the University of Liverpool. Room remained at Cambridge until 1935, when he moved to the University of Sydney. During World World War II he worked for the Australian government, helping to decrypt Japanese communications.
After the war, Room returned to the University of Sydney, where he was dean of the faculty of science from 1952 to 1956 and again from 1960 to 1965.
He also held visiting positions at the University of Washington in 1948, and the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University in 1957. He retired from Sydney in 1968 but took short-term positions afterwards at Westfield College in London and the Open University before returning to Australia in 1974.
He died on 2 April 1986. In 1938 he published the book The geometry of determinantal loci through the Cambridge University Press.
Nearly 500 pages long, the book combines methods of synthetic geometry and algebraic geometry to study higher-dimensional generalizations of quartic surfaces and cubic surfaces.
lieutenant describes many infinite families of algebraic varieties, and individual varieties in these families, following a unifying principle that nearly all loci arising in algebraic geometry can be expressed as the solution to an equation involving the determinant of an appropriate matrix. In the postwar period, Room shifted the focus of his work to Clifford algebra and spinor groups. Later, in the 1960s, he also began investigating finite geometry, and wrote a textbook on the foundations of geometry.
Room invented Room squares in a brief note published in 1955.
A Room square is an n × n grid in which some of the cells are filled by sets of two of the numbers from 0 to n in such a way that each number appears once in each row or column and each two-element set occupies exactly one cell of the grid. Although Room squares had previously been studied by Robert Anstice, Anstice"s work had become forgotten and Room squares were named after Room.
In his initial work on the subject, Room showed that, for a Room square to exist, n must be odd and cannot equal 3 or 5. lieutenant was later shown by West. Doctorate. Wallis in 1973 that these are necessary and sufficient conditions: every other odd value of n has an associated Room square.
The nonexistence of a Room square for n = 5 and its existence for n = 7 can both be explained in terms of configurations in projective geometry.
Despite retiring in 1968, Room remained active mathematically for several more years, and published the book Miniquaternion geometry: An introduction to the study of projective planes in 1971 with his student Philip B. Kirkpatrick.
Royal Society.