The four color problem was one of the most difficult to prove problems for 150 years. It took several failed proofs and advancement in technology and techniques for the final proof to become possible. Some notable men include De Morgan first writing about the problem, Kempe giving the first proof, Heawood showing the flaws in Kempe’s work as well as making advancements of his own. The first actual proof of the problem is then discussed, as well as it’s shortcomings and the work done by other mathematicians to show improvements on them. The total of this work has lead to numerous great leaps in mathematics including the creation of the branch known as graph theory. This one problem also revolutionized proof writing, being the first to use a computer as an essential part of the proving process.
Semester/Year of Award
Mathew M. Cropper
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Open Access Thesis
Mathematics and Statistics
Rogers, Rebecca M., "The Four Color Problem: The Journey to a Proof and the Results of the Study" (2020). Honors Theses. 740.