Ronnie Brown

I was a research student of Henry Whitehead till 1960, when he died suddenly at Princeton; then Michael Barratt, as new supervisor, suggested the problem of the homotopy type of function spaces $X^Y$, by induction on the Postnikov system of $X$. A particular problem was calculating $k^Y$ where $k$ is a cohomology operation. This worked out well. In doing this, I came across lots of exponential laws, essentially monoidal closed categories, and this led me to the notion of convenient category for topology, and my first two papers.

As a result of giving courses at BSc and MSc level at Liverpool, I got involved in writing a text published as "Elements of Modern Topology" with McGraw Hill in 1968, and the 3rd edition is now available as "Topology and Groupoids" from amazon, see my web page. It was writing this book, and trying to clarify certain points, such as the fundamental group of the circle, that got mew into the area of groupoids; this suggested the area of higher groupoids; research on this got going in the 1970s, and has been a major area in my work, with fortunate collaborations with Chris Spencer (1971-73), Philip Higgins (1974-2005), and Jean-Louis Loday (1981-1985), and excellent contributions from research students.

Since 2001 I was engaged in writing a Tract giving an exposition in one place of my work since 1974 with Philip Higgins and a number of others on (strict) higher homotopy groupoids and their applications. A first step was to make available my out of print book on Topology, and this was made available in 2006 under the title "Topology and Groupoids" see my web page. The higher dimensional work was published in August, 2011, as a European Mathematical Society Tract, Vol 15, under the title "Nonabelian algebraic topology: filtered spaces, crossed complexes, cubical homotopy groupoids" with co-authors P.J. Higgins and R. Sivera.

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