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Stieltjes Onderwijsweek: History of Mathematics
Great mathematicians may be represented as lone
mathematical wizards, getting their best ideas in splendid isolation. Yet, the
truth is different; mathematicians work in groups and their results are always
intimately related to the work of predecessors and contemporaries. This is the
perspective from which they will be studied during the Stieltjes Week on
Biography: mathematicians in their research communities. In this way the great
mathematicians will become more than names connected to a theorem or a footnote
reference in a textbook.
The course will introduce mathematicians to the history of their field by a combination of lectures and active participation. Each day will start with a biographical lecture, exemplifying the genre from Omar al-Khayyam to Hilbert. Further lectures offer a historical overview of mathematics and methodological background. Taking the maximum profit from the Leiden environment, excursions are planned to museums and archives. During the week participants will be coached towards writing a brief biographical essay themselves on their favorite mathematical "hero". This is a guided endeavour in which the student is assisted in recognizing and overcoming the pitfalls of the consecutive stages of biography (from collecting data, through heroic legend to focus and synthesis). The writing and rewriting in small workshops will lead up to the presentation of finished stories in a poster session on Friday.
The week finishes with a public lecture on Friday
afternoon, September 10th. We are happy to announce Prof essor
Jeremy Gray of the Open University at Milton Keynes, who will discuss Hilbert
and the Göttingen community.
The course is free but registration is required. Don't hesitate, register right now! And tell us who your hero in the history of mathematics is. Register at the Lorentz Center site. Go to
http://www.lc.leidenuniv.nl/ , click on year 2004 and go to the September 6-10 course. You will find the program there as well.