On the Early History of the Periodicity Theorem
This paper will be concerned with the period 1949 to 1959 and will, on the whole, be an account of Marston Morses work of the 1920’s, and bow naturally its reinterpretation in the language of the 40’s leads to the periodicity theorem of the homotopy groups of the Classical Stable Groups. I hope to convince you that from that perspective the periodicity theorem is simply an extension of the Freudenthal Suspension Theorem, albeit a quite miraculous one. My paper will therefore also be more personal than is possibly appropriate in this forum, but I find the attempt to play the historian on a larger than personal level much too daunting to undertake, even though, from previous experience, I am also well aware of the perils posed to personal reminiscence by the highly selective nature of our memories. Nevertheless, I hope that this account will be of some use. But please remember, that a ll I can really p romise you here, is how the past appears to me now, some 50 years later.
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