Between manifold and completeness - mathematics and form in the work of Wilhelm Ostwald€¦

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"Wald, Positivism, and Chemistry"
Pruhonice (Prague), October 16-17, 2009

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  • 1. TUHH Between manifold and Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg completeness - mathematics and form in the work of Wilhelm Ostwald with crosslinks to Wald Thomas Hapke University Library Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) International workshop "Wald, Positivism, and Chemistry" Pruhonice (Prague), October 16-17, 2009 www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 2. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Holiday on Rügen … www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 3. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg … and a surprising discovery A connection of art and chemistry www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 4. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Mathematics in chemistry „The concept of the chemical compound has become a mathematical one.― (N.S. Kurnakow 1914) www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 5. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg The thread • Ostwald and mathematics • Manifold • Applying combinatorics • The concept of completeness • The hidden tradition of ‚in-formation‗ in chemistry www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 6. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Ostwald and mathematics „Pure mathematics was alien to him; an attempt to arrive at, led him instead to positivistic philosophy.― (P. Günther 1953) www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 7. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Ostwald, mathematics and philosophy • First inspiration for philosophical thinking • „General― issues are neccessary because of „overload with new scholarly work and publications― • An „elementary table of concepts― • Mathematics as basis for scientific unity www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 8. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Manifold - Mannigfaltigkeit • Use of term part of the „zeitgeist― • Variety, plurality, complexity, diversity, manifoldness • Mathematical term: manifold – a bridge between algebra and geometry www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 9. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Manifold for František Wald (1903) ―For a given problem of experimental research, it seems to be the first task to get clarity about the manifold, that means the nature and quantity of the independent and variabel pieces, which determines the phenomena being found.‖ Describing phenomena as complete as possible without using too few or too much parameters for their description! A manifold as a property of a model or theory! www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 10. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Manifold for Ostwald „the entirety of any ordered – or related to each other – entities or objects― Logics as the science of manifold www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 11. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Combinatorics in Ostwald‗s philosophy of nature • Part of his theory of order • Reference to Leibniz • Combinatorics of concepts • Method of research „ The application of combinatorics in scholarship is far from being widespread, as it should be.― (Ostwald 1914) www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 12. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Combinatorics as research method • Determination of position of a subject in the pyramid of sciences • Looking for elemental concepts • Combination of concepts through combinatorics www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 13. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Combinatorics and creativity „Combinatorics doesn‗t replace productive imagination only, but is superior to it!― Combinatorics and intellectual property today: Share, reuse, and remix — legally. www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 14. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Ostwald‗s theory of colors Mathetic, physical, chemical, physiological and psychological theory of colors www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 15. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Combinatorics of … … saturated colours combined with white and black fractions www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 16. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Ostwald‗s impact on … • Werkbund • De Stijl • Bauhaus www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 17. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Ostwald‗s theory of forms Creation of ornaments and new forms which were „all beautiful, without any exception!― (Ostwald 1922) Order = Legality = Harmony www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 18. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Harmony of forms Regular triangel, tetragon, and hexagon as elements Construction of ornaments through symmetrical operations www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 19. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Completeness in chemistry Proof of the law of equivalent proportions „was based on the experience of completeness (‚Restlosigkeit‗) of ordinary chemical processes.― (Ostwald 1929) www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 20. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Completeness in chemistry The concept of completeness („Vollständigkeit―, „complétude―), the „need to fill out the picture … appeared in the doctrine of chemical substances― (Gaston Bachelard 1940) www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 21. TUHH Completeness Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg as part of „zeitgeist― around 1900 Different German notions: • Vollständigkeit: heuristic method, redundant conclusions are not important • Restlosigkeit: View on plentifulness, attention to every least detail www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 22. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg „The World Brain― Foundation of the „Bridge – International Institute for the Organisation of intellectual work―(1911-1914) Completeness as thoroughness and accuracy in opposite to superficiality www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 23. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Organisation of scholarly work • Building a comprehensive encyclopedia as „handbook of the future― • Standardization of paper formats • Knowledge fragmentation www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 24. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Splitting scholarly communication in smaller components (Monographic principle) ―Principle of the independent use of the individual piece" "Klassiker" as an example www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 25. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Use of decimal classification as „framework― www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 26. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg International Institute of Chemistry Principle of completeness should rule! www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 27. TUHH Restlosigkeit Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg as reason for failure of the Bridge (Ostwald 1927) Collecting everything, also ephemera like advertising stamps www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 28. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Summary • Coping with manifoldness of the world/senses • Chemistry „as a combinatorial art― (P. Laszlo) • Connection between organisational principles of the Bridge and chemical thinking www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 29. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Bridge activities and chemistry • Monographic • Chemical elements principle: Elements of scholarly work • Organising: • Analysing and dividing and synthesising combining • „Restlosigkeit― • Completeness • Standardization • Standardization • Decimal classification • Periodical system www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 30. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg The hidden tradition of information in chemistry Chemistry as „closed science―: „All the shelf space will come to be filled― Combinatorics as a way out of the „closed shop― (Steve Fuller) www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 31. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Why were so many information pioneers educated as chemists? What have they in common? • Sense of completeness • Necessity of standardization and structuring • Common activities: „Identifying, naming, and classifying― (Bensaude-Vincent) • Role of language www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 32. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg My World of In-Form-ation Culture Chemistry Knowledge Transformation Design Competence Form Media In-formation Formation Creativity Communication Education Learning www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 33. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg More: Thomas Hapke hapke@tu-harburg.de http://www.tub.tu-harburg.de/192.html „Combinatorics and order as a foundation of creativity, information organisation and art in the work of Wilhelm Ostwald“. Conference poster Mai 2008: http://doku.b.tu-harburg.de/volltexte/2008/404/ Weblog Creative Combinatorics http://notes.hapke.de Wilhelm Ostwald, the "Brücke" (Bridge), and connections to other bibliographic activities at the beginning of the twentieth century. In: Proceedings of the 1998 Conference on the History and Heritage of Science Information Systems http://www.chemheritage.org/explore/ASIS_documents/ASIS98_Hapke.pdf Archive of the ‘History of information systems’ category in „Hapke-Weblog - About information literacy, history, philosophy, education and beyond“ http://blog.hapke.de/?cat=5 www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 34. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Further references 1 • Bachelard, G. (1968) The philosophy of no : a philosophy of the new scientific mind. New York: Orion Press. • Bensaude-Vincent, B. (2009) Philosophy of chemistry. In Brenner, A. et al. (eds.) French studies in the philospphy of science : contemporary research in France. Berlin: Springer, p. 165-186. • Fuller, S. (2008) A tale of two narratives: prolegomena to an alternative history of library and information science. Rayward, W.B. (ed.) European modernism and the information society : informing the present, understanding the past. Aldershot: Ashgate, 59-73. • Günther, P. (1953) Wilhelm Ostwalds Wirken in seiner Zeit. Angewandte Chemie 65, 497-502. • Krajewski, M. (2006) Restlosigkeit : Weltprojekte um 1900. Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer. • Kurnakow, N.S. (1914) Verbindung und chemisches Individuum. Zeitschrift für anorganische Chemie 88, 109-127 • Laszlo, P. (1999) Circulation of concepts. Foundations of chemistry 1, 225-239. • Ostwald W. (2003) Lebenslinien – eine Selbstbiographie : nach der Ausg. von 1926/27. Stuttgart: Hirzel. www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness
  • 35. TUHH Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg Further references 2 • Ostwald, W. (1929) J. B. Richter. In Bugge, G. (ed.) Das Buch der grossen Chemiker : unter Mitwirkung namhafter Gelehrter. Weinheim: Verlag Chemie, vol. 1, p. 369-377. • Ostwald, W. (1929) Kombinatorik und schaffende Phantasie (1929). Ostwald, W. Forschen und Nutzen. Wilhelm Ostwald zur wissenschaftlichen Arbeit, Berlin 1978 (2. ext. ed.. 1982), 28-30. • Ostwald, W. (1914) Memorial on the foundation of an International Chemical Institute. Science 40, 147-158. • Ostwald, W. (1911) Natural philosophy. London : Williams and Norgate. • Ostwald, W. (1904) On the theory of science. Congress of arts and science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904. Sopka, K.R. (ed.) (1986) Physics for a new century : papers presented at the 1904 St. Louis Congress. American Institute of Physics, 17-36. • Wald, F. (1903) Über die Mannigfaltigkeit chemischer Erscheinungen. Annalen der Naturphilosophie 2, 108-132. • Ziche, P. (2008) Wissenschaftslandschaften um 1900 : Philosophie, die Wissenschaften und der nichtreduktive Szientismus. Zürich: Chronos. www.tub.tu-harburg.de Thomas Hapke, October 2009 Between manifold and completeness