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 Stieltjes Institute offers graduate students this unique opportunity to attend an intensive course in the history of mathematics taught by well-known historians of mathematics from the Netherlands and abroad. Historians of mathematics from all three Dutch research schools in mathematics take part. Special guest from abroad is Jeremy Gray of the Open University (UK).
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. Contrary to earlier announcement this course will be taught entirely in English.
Stieltjes Week, organized on behalf of the Stieltjes Institute, is a graduate course, which in Dutch terms means that PhD students but students advancing towards their Master’s degree (drs. or ma.) as well are cordially invited to participate. Students from all schools in mathematics and adjacent areas are welcome to participate. Students may gain credits ad 2 ECTS for participation, or 3 ECTS for participation after preparatory reading.
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.