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Arthur Coble entered the Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg, the oldest existing Lutheran college in the United States founded in 1832, in 1893. The College was renamed Gettysburg College in 1921. Coble graduated with an A.B. in 1997 and, after spending a year as a public school teacher, he began research at Johns Hopkins University in 1898. He was awarded his Ph.D. for a thesis The quartic curve as related to conics in 1902.
Coble was appointed an instructor in mathematics at the University of Missouri in 1902 and then, as was the custom for American mathematicians at that time, he travelled to Germany where he studied at Greifswald University and Bonn University.
Returning to the United States, Coble was appointed an instructor in mathematics at Johns Hopkins University in 1904. He left Johns Hopkins when offered a full professorship at the University of Illinois in 1918. Except for the year 1927-28 which he spent back at Johns Hopkins University, Coble remained at the University of Illinois.
His interests in research relate to finite geometries and the group theory related to them, to Cremona transformations related to the Galois theory of equations. Later in his career he studied the relations between hyperelliptic theta functions, irrational binary invariants, the Weddle surface and the Kummer surface.
Coble worked hard and effectively for the American Mathematical Society over many years. He was vice-president of the Society in 1917, then he edited the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society for five years from 1920. He was involved with editing the American Journal of Mathematics over many years between 1918 and 1933. However his most important work for the American Mathematical Society was done over the years 1933-34 when he was president.
The Society at that time was in some financial difficulties and it was to Coble's great credit that he dealt so effectively with the problem. He wrote a letter as part of the campaign to put the Society on a proper financial footing which shows his position clearly:-
It would hardly seem just for a university, year after year, definitely to plan on a research program without also correspondingly arranging at least to pay in part for the publication of the results of such program. It is only through the publication of the results of research that its support can be adequately justified. The universities which are constantly encouraging a larger and larger output of research and are thereby gaining more and more prestige might well be expected to contribute.Archibald in  gives some indication of Coble's hobbies writing that he enjoyed:-
... golf, tennis, swimming, tramping, bridge, billiards, and light reading.
References (2 books/articles)
References elsewhere in this archive:
A B Coble was the President of the American Mathematical Society in 1933 - 1934. You can see a history of the AMS and a list of AMS presidents.
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