Bourbaki!

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An introduction to Nicolas Bourbaki, the greatest mathematician who never existed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Bourbaki

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  • Nicolas Bourbaki – Greek
    Fake lecture (Raoul Husson – fake beard, glasses)
  • Students at Ecole Normale Superieure
    Dec. 1934, first meeting in a cafe
    Henri Cartan (left), Dieudonne (suited), Weil (right), Chevalley (middle bottom), Mandelbrojt
  • Structuralism, phonology (Roman Jakobson)
    Levi-Strauss (“savage mind”),
    The crescents (60s)

  • Mixed bunch – artists, philosophers, pacifists, soldiers.
    Dieudonne, nerd
    Weil, hinduist/pacifist
    Chevalley, OuLiPo and non-conformist
    Rigour
  • Not a swedish O.
    “Zero: The story of a dangerous idea”
    Nothing is better than eternal happiness; a ham sandwich is better than nothing; therefore, a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness.
    The set of all things that are better than eternal happiness is. The set {ham sandwich} is better than the set.
  • Henri Poincare.
    Proofs! Lots of citations.
    Borrowed by Knuth.
  • 1951, Bourbaki Congress
    Spat with AMS

  • Kurt Godel, religious – went mad.
    Wittgenstein, Post-modernism, Deconstructionism
  • Bourbaki!

    1. 1. Nicolas Bourbaki The greatest mathematician who never existed
    2. 2. The “real” Bourbaki
    3. 3. Happenings
    4. 4. The “real” Bourbaki
    5. 5. ø
    6. 6. Bourbaki Congress
    7. 7. Bourbaki’s Maker

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