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Professor William T. Tutte

Biography of Professor Tutte - (1917 - 2002)

The following biographical sketch was written for the October 2002 issue of CMS Notes: W.T. Tutte (1917-2002)

William T. Tutte, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, died May 2, 2002. The cause was congestive heart failure, complicated by lymphoma of the spleen, both diagnosed within six weeks of his death.

It was just a year previous, October 2001, that he was inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada, in a ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The citation began "He is internationally renowned for his seminal work in the area of graph theory. As a young mathematician and codebreaker, he deciphered a series of German military encryption codes known as Fish". These two sentences speak to his place in history. His wartime codebreaking work, much emphasized in newspaper obituaries, was a secret by order of British security until 1993 and, indeed, is only described with detail in recent articles.

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