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Ursinus College

Science and Mathematics Education

Cantor set

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The Cantor Set Before Cantor, Nicholas A. Scoville Apr 2016

The Cantor Set Before Cantor, Nicholas A. Scoville

Topology

A special construction used in both analysis and topology today is known as the Cantor set. Cantor used this set in a paper in the 1880s. Yet it appeared as early as 1875 in a paper by the Irish mathematician Henry John Stephen Smith (1826 - 1883). Smith, who is best known for the Smith normal form of a matrix, was a professor at Oxford who made great contributions in matrix theory and number theory. In this project, we will explore parts of a paper he wrote titled On the Integration of Discontinuous Functions.