Brief history of the Graph Theory Hymn


At the Czechoslovak Conference on Graph Theory in Jablonec n.N. in 1981, several colleagues proposed that Czechoslovak Graph Theory should have its own hymn. In spring 1982, Bohdan Zelinka (VŠST Liberec) came up with the text of the future hymn. The text describes (with a bit of exaggeration) the "Königsberg Bridge problem", the oldest problem that was solved using Graph Theory techniques, and its solution by Euler. Bohdan sent the text to me, asking me to find for it a melody, which would be singable and easy to remember. After some time, the right idea came, and in spring 1992 at the 2nd International Symposium on Combinatorics and Graph Theory in Prague, a complete hymn was ready to be introduced. Unfortunately, Bohdan Zelinka was ill at that time and therefore introducing the hymn was one year postponed. Eventually, the song was introduced at the Graph Theory conference at Zemplínska Šírava in May 1983. Since then the song is being presented regularly, among others, at annual Czechoslovak (and since 1993 Czech-Slovak) Graph Theory conferences and at international workshops "Cycles and Colourings", organized by UPJŠ Košice.

At the 3rd International Symposium on Combinatorics and Graph Theory at Prachatice in 1990, the presentation of the hymn inspired A. Ádám (Budapest) to provide a translation into Hungarian. The Hungarian translation was published in the journal Matematikai Lapok [1].

In 1991, at the 13th British Combinatorial Conference in Guildford (England) the hymn was introduced with a temporary translation of a part of the text, provided by the organizer of the evening D. Preece (Canterbury). The full translation into English (by D. Preece) was presented at the 14th British Combinatorial Conference in Keele (England) in 1993. The English version was published in the conference proceedings that appeared as a special volume of the journal "Discrete Mathematics".

Polish translation was provided by Mariusz Meszka and Joanna Nowak (Kraków). The polish version of the hymn was introduced at the conference in Kraków in December 1995 and published in the conference proceedings (special volume of the journal "Discussiones Mathematicae - Graph Theory" [3].

Translation into German by Anja Pruchnewski (Ilmenau) was first introduced at the conference in Elgersburg, Germany, in 1996. I. Broere (Johannesburg) got acquainted with the hymn at annual international workshops "Cycles and Colourings" at Stará Lesná (Slovakia) and in 1998 he translated it to afrikaans. In 1999, the author of the original text Bohdan Zelinka and colleague J. Mráz (Rokycany) provided the Esperanto version of the hymn. At the annual conferences "Kolloquium über Kombinatorik" in Braunschweig, Oleg Pichurko got acquainted with the hymn and in 2002 he provided the Ukrainian version. The Indonesian version (author Edy Tri Baskoro, Bandung) and the French version (author Evelyne Flandrin, orsay) were first presented in 2004 at the workshop "Cycles and Colourings" in Tatranská Štrba. In the same year at the workshop "Cycles and Colourings" a Japanese version (authors Jun Fujisawa, Mariko Hagita and Tomoki Yamashita) was also presented.

In 2013, at the "7th Workshop on the Matthews-Sumner Conjecture" in Domažlice, Hao Li (Orsay) and his students introduced the Chinese translation of the hymn, and this presentation inspired Hajo Broersma (Enschede) to provide Dutch version of the text. In 2014, D. Stevanović and his colleagues M. Milošević and A. Ilić came up with the Serbian translation. In 2014, K. Yoshimoto provided the Japanese version with a transcription to Roman characters, and in the same year, Hui Du provided a Pinyin transcription of the Chinese version.

A complete version of the hymn with all translations is available as a pdf file here.


[1] A. Ádám, Z. Ryjáček, B. Zelinka: A gráfelmélet himnusza. Matematikai Lapok 1991/4, 42-45.

[2] D. Preece, Z. Ryjáček, B. Zelinka: The Graph theory Hymn. Discrete Math. 138 (1995], 1-3.

[3] M. Meszka, J. Nowak, Z. Ryjáček, B. Zelinka: Hymna teorii grafów. Discussiones Mathematicae - Graph Theory 16 (1996), 219-221.