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Due to whom is the modern (i.e. via its universal property) definition of the tensor product, and in which article was it communicated?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

My recollection agrees with Mariano. Here's an except from Weibel's History of homological algebra enter image description here

and from p. 172 of Mac Lane's Homology enter image description here

and from Whitney's Collected Papers v. 1 enter image description here

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The article

Whitney, Hassler. Tensor products of Abelian groups. Duke Mathematical Journal 4 (1938), no. 3, 495--528.

is usually credited as the original source.

Very soon after that, Bourbaki crystallized the modern definition.

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1  
I don't seem to be able to find that paper free online, which is sad. –  Mariano Suárez-Alvarez Jan 18 at 20:23
2  
If someone wants a copy of Whitney's paper I can send it by mail. You can contact me at my first.lastname at gmail.com –  Bill Dubuque Jan 18 at 20:55

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