SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITIES

October 31, 2014
THE FIELDS INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH IN MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
20th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

History of Mathematics Lecture
Craig Fraser,
University of Toronto

Mathematics on the Eve of the Great War:
Background to the Career of John Charles Fields

(presentation)
October 11, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.
Fields Institute, 222 College St, Toronto, Room 230

Fields’ formation as a research mathematician occurred over a sixteen-year period, during doctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins University, a lengthy period of mathematical study in Europe and a year at the University of Chicago. When he arrived at the University of Toronto in 1901 he was an experienced investigator with the beginnings of an international reputation. In the lecture we examine the emergent North American research community to which Fields belonged and identify the major lines of European research that defined the mathematical outlook of the new century. Fields’ biographers Elaine Riehm and Frances Hoffman refer to the period leading up to the outbreak of World War I as “the golden years.” The vitality and range of mathematical work at the great European universities was accompanied by international cooperation and the development of new centres of research in North America.
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This lecture is given in connection with the publication of Turbulant Times in Mathematics: The Life of J.C. Fields and the History of the Fields Medal.



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