Hadwiger's conjecture forK 6-free graphs


In 1943, Hadwiger made the conjecture that every loopless graph not contractible to the complete graph ont+1 vertices ist-colourable. Whent≤3 this is easy, and whent=4, Wagner's theorem of 1937 shows the conjecture to be equivalent to the four-colour conjecture (the 4CC). However, whent≥5 it has remained open. Here we show that whent=5 it is also equivalent to the 4CC. More precisely, we show (without assuming the 4CC) that every minimal counterexample to Hadwiger's conjecture whent=5 is “apex”, that is, it consists of a planar graph with one additional vertex. Consequently, the 4CC implies Hadwiger's conjecture whent=5, because it implies that apex graphs are 5-colourable.

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Additional information

Research partially supported by NSF grants number DMS 8903132, and DMS 9103480 respectively. Both authors were also partially supported by the DIMACS Center at Rutgers University, and the research was carried out partially under a consulting agreement with Bellcore.

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Robertson, N., Seymour, P. & Thomas, R. Hadwiger's conjecture forK 6-free graphs. Combinatorica 13, 279–361 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01202354

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AMS subject classification code (1991)

  • 05 C 15
  • 05 C 75