Conferences, Interviews and Workshops

Since 1988, the Archive has directly commissioned or sponsored a series of Invited Lectures, Courses, Workshops, Conferences and Panel Interviews/Discussions. These have focussed mainly on questions in the foundations of mathematics and the exact sciences. As well as Panel Interviews, the Archive has also arranged a number of extended one-to-one interviews with leading figures in various fields within Mathematics Physics and Cosmology, and in the History and Philosophy of Science

A major aim of the Archive is to develop and expand this Programme of Meetings, Workshops, Panel Discussions and individual Interviews  by capitalising on the already established network of regular contacts in the research community.  The Archive aims particularly to build on the Programme of Panel Discussions and Extended Interviews /”Rencontres” with leading researchers. Some of those which have taken place over the last 20 years are listed below and a fuller account of them can be supplied on request.

Invited Lectures, Courses, Workshops, Conferences and Panel Interviews and Discussions

have included the following.  Complete sets of recordings of all these are in the Archive.

i) June 1988 / Cambridge UK: Invited Lectures by Professor John Earman, subsequently published as World Enough and Space-Time, and followed by a 4 Day Workshop. For details see the acknowlegements in Earman’s Preface. The Lectures were followed by an Interview and Panel Discussion with Prof. Earman on his work in Cosmology and Philosophy of Physics.

ii) June 1989 / Cambridge UK :  A Series of Invited Lectures on Categories and The Foundations of Mathematics given by Professor F. William Lawvere, followed by a 6 Day International Workshop on Categories in The Foundations of Mathematics, Language and Theories of Cognition. An abridged version of Prof. Lawvere’s lectures and a selection from the proceedings of the workshop were published as a special double number of the journal Philosophia Mathematica in June 1994. See the Preface of that number and the Introduction to Lawvere’s lecture for further details. Professor Lawvere has been the subjct of several one-to-one Interviews by the Archive since 1989, and in 2005 was the first subject for an intensive Panel Interview extending over 10 days

iii) Interviews in Como, Italy in July 1990 with Professors Saunders MacLane and Samuel Eilenberg, two of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th Century

iv) Interviews in San Sebastian, Spain in 1992 with leading French and Russian Mathematicians and Physicists, including the late Rene Thom.

v) London Ontario in February 1993: A Conference on The Subject: ‘What Is Needed in Principle of A Foundation for Mathematics and in What respects do either Category Theory or Set Theory Meet or fail to meet such Needs?’ This Meeting was sponsored by the Archive. The proceedings remain unpublished;  a complete set of recordings is in the Archive.

vi) Bolzano Italy , June 1998: Conference on Whole/Part relations in Mathematics, Physics and Biology. The proceedings remain unpublished, although a complete set of recordings are in the Archive.

vii) The Bolzano Conference was followed by a Series of Invited Lectures and a Workshop at The University of Florence in June-July 1998 given by Professor Lawvere, Professor John L. Bell ( University of Western Ontario ) and Professor Colin McLarty (CWRU) and professor John Mayberry of the University of Bristol. (Recordings of all these in the Archive.) Extended Panel Discussions between these four and leading Italian Philosophers of Science and Mathematics formed part of the Workshop. A complete set of recordings of these is in the Archive.

viii) Florence Italy , November 17-23 2003: An International Conference on The Ramifications of Category Theory. Speakers included Professor Lawvere (again a series of Invited Lectures), Professors Dana Scott, John Baez, Pierre Cartier and Angus MacIntyre FRS. There were over 100 registered participants. A complete set of recordings, including videos of all the talks, are in the Archive.

ix) Fougères France, November 24-30 2004: A Meeting entitled: Topological and Geometrical Perspectives on the Foundations of Physics? Speakers included Professors Basil Hiley ( University of London ), Maurice De Gosson (Karlskroga and Einstein Institute Potsdam), Louis Kauffman ( University of Chicago ), Frederick Van Oystaeyen ( University of Antwerp ) and others.

x) June 2005: 10 day Panel Interview of Professor Lawvere in Fougères conducted with the assistance of Professors Pierre Cartier (Paris), Colin McLarty(CWRU) , Angus MacIntyre FRS (London and Edinburgh), John Bell (Western Ontario) and Leo Corry (Jerusalem)

xi) Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris , October 26 – November 3, 2005: An International Meeting entitled ‘Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Category Theory’. There were over 100 registered participants.This Meeting was intended as a Memorial Meeting and tribute to the great American mathematician, Saunders MacLane, who died in the Spring of 2005. A complete set of video and audio recordings of the proceedings of this Meeting is in the Archive and can be made available.

xii) London LSE, June 2006 : An Invited Lecture by Professor Pierre Cartier of the IHES, ‘What’s the Point?: Some reflections on the place of Geometry in the Philosophy of Mathematics’.

xiii) In Boston, November 30 – December 4, 2007 :  A Meeting on Trends in The Mathematical Representation of Space and their significance for Philosophy of Mathematics, to mark the 50th Anniversary of Alexandre Grothendieck’s Tohoku Address. Speakers included Pierre Cartier, Bill Lawvere, Lou Crane, Daniel Kan, Gonzalo Reyes.  For details see Boston Colloquium 48th Annual Program for 2007-2008.

xiv) Projected:  Extended Panel Interviews in Fougères with the following subjects : Professor Pierre Cartier, Professor Jean Benabou, Professor Sir Roger Penrose (i.e. three separate Panel Interviews to be carried out over the coming years 2010/2012. )  All three of these distinguished scientists have signified their agreement in principle to be the subjects of such Panel Interviews.

Professor Cartier was a member of the Panel for the June 2005 Interviews and Discussions with Professor Lawvere.  He is known internationally for his great contributions to many areas of mathematics, but especially Algebraic Geometry, and for his leadership of the Bourbaki Group when it was at the height of its influence in the codification and unification of of mathematics, as well as for his rich contributions to the history and philosophy of mathematics.

Professor Jean Benabou was the pupil of the late Charles Ehresmann, and played a key role in the development of French mathematics over a period of more than 40 years.  His contributions to re-thinking the foundations of mathematics, in particular, have ensured that his work has generated much discussion and debate.

Professor Sir Roger Penrose FRS, OM is one of Britain’s foremost living scientists. His contributions to mathematics and physics,  especially his contributions to General Relativityand Cosmology have been so extensive as to make a short listing impossible.  He is also celebrated for his expository works aimed at a more general audience, commencing with “The Emperor’s New Mind” (Date?)   and, most  recently, “The Road to Reality” ( Date ?)  He is the Chair of the Trustees of The Archive of Mathematical Sciences and Philosophy.

xv)  February 14-21 2009 : MFO OBERWOLFACH : Workshop Entitled “Category Theory : History and Prospects” sponsored by the Archive. The Mathematisches ForschungsInstitut Oberwolfach is Germany’s most prestigious Institute for Mathematical Research, the German equivalent of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study or the UK’s Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge.  A full account of the proceedings of the Workshop will appear in the 2009 Annual Report of the MFO.  A  complete set of recordings of the Talks and Discussions is held by the Archive.

Askloster Symposium and F.E.R.T. Conferences

Since 2007  the Archive has received regular, indispensable and greatly appreciated support from Dr Georg Wikman of the S.H.I. Foundation for Research and Development, of Goteborg, Sweden. In addition to his generous support for the work of the Archive, Dr Wikman has been responsible for the annual Askloster Symposium on Topics in The Foundations of Mathematics and Physics. A complete set of videos of the 2004 – 2008 Symposia can be seen by clicking on the link “Askloster Symposium”  above.  The videos of the 2009 Symposium will be added shortly. The Archive for Mathematical Sciences and Philosophy and its Trustees and Director would like to acknowledge Dr Wikman’s dedicated and exceptional commitment to open inquiry into the Foundations of Mathematics and Physics and his support for the work of this Archive.

F.E.R.T.  Conferences

From 2005 to 2008 the Archive benefited from the support of the