
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 sixteenyear 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.

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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