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Thursday, April 08, 2021

The Mysterious Legend of Bourbaki: Le Mathématicien Reclus | Mathematics - Medium

Deception in a field that is meant to unravel reality, writes Kiran Jain, published in History of Yesterday.

The cover of Bourbaki’s textbook.
Maitrier/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 

Today, there is a book for almost anything and everything, and one can get access to any question at the turn of a page. However, whatever access we have to theory today has been made possible by the work of scientists over the last century, efforts which compounded over and yielded results.

If you were a high schooler in the earlier half of the 20th century, your access to even the most basic mathematical concepts was restricted due to the lack of authentic and quality knowledge.

A fleet of mathematicians was killed in the First World War, fragmenting the field, causing a lack of a shared mathematical language, and making it extremely difficult to share work.

Mathematics was going through its second puberty, and it looked ugly...

He lobbied his friends and formed a small group to compose a new book. Henri Cartan, Claude Chevalley, Jean Delsarte, Jean Dieudonné, René de Possel, and André Weil were the founding members of this secret group.

They quickly hired new members and decided to publish Éléments de mathématique, and all their subsequent work, under a collective pseudonym: Nicolas Bourbaki, a Russian Mathematician...

Nicolas Bourbaki may have been imaginary — but his legacy is real.

Read more... 

Source: Medium