8–11 Jan 2015: 5th winter workshop on history of mathematics

23.09.2014 23:14

Mathematics, mathematicians and war:
How does war affect mathematical work and vice versa?

First announcement is available here (in PDF).

Preliminary programme is available here (in PDF).

This year’s workshop is held between the occasions of 100th anniversary of the beginning of the WWI and 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. We want to discuss what crucial impact all global conflicts – the WWI, WWII and Cold War, as well as other war conflicts – have had on the development of science in general and mathematics in the first instance.

Key phenomena to be described are those of continuity and discontinuity. Wars inevitably bring many personal tragedies and that is why discontinuity forms sadly inseparable part of many personally focused research topics. Hatred, expediency or cruel coincidences could have tragic consequences during the war times.

Apart from analysing the individual cases, stories can be explored within different frameworks (local, national, and international) and from the different points of view. We would like to focus on the following features: How did the wars changed the research practices in mathematics and how was it possible (if ever) to keep the research going during wartime? What was the role of the state? When, why and how did it support research, when the priority of the government lay in the war effort? What was the role of learned societies and how did this differ in the different countries and periods of time? What ethical and political/diplomatical issues were raised during wars? How did it influence the research? Does the war stimulate research, e.g. in accelerating new methods, or hampering the overall conditions of research?


The meeting traditionally strives to support interdisciplinary debate and explore various approaches to history of mathematics. We would like to offer a view of mathematics as an indispensable part of our history.


Looking forward to seeing you

Helena Durnová, MU Brno
Jan Kotůlek, VSB-TU Ostrava
Doubravka Olšáková, AS CR Prague