The vibrant joie de vivre and singular ambience of Lvov's once scintillating social scene are evocatively recaptured in personal recollections. The heyday of the famous Scottish Café--unquestionably the most mathematically productive cafeteria of all time--and its precious Scottish Book of highly influential problems are described in detail, revealing the special synergy of scholarship and camaraderie that permanently elevated Polish mathematics from utter obscurity to global prominence.This chronicle of the Lvov school--its legacy and the tumultuous historical events which defined its lifespan--will appeal equally to mathematicians, historians, or general readers seeking a cultural and institutional overview of key aspects of twentieth-century Polish mathematics not described anywhere else in the extant English-language literature.
Semigroup theory might be
termed `Cold War mathematics' because of the time during which it
developed. There were thriving schools on both sides of the Iron
Curtain, although the two sides were not always able to communicate
with each other, or even gain access to the other's publications. A
major theme of this book is the comparison of the approaches to the
subject of mathematicians in East and West, and the study of the extent
to which contact between the two sides was possible.
By focusing on a few key places (Paris, Cambridge, Rome, Chicago, and others), the present book gathers studies representing a broad spectrum of positions adopted by mathematicians about the conflict, from militant pacifism to military, scientific, or ideological mobilization. The use of mathematics for war is thoroughly examined.
This book suggests a new vision of the long-term influence of World War I on mathematics and mathematicians. Continuities and discontinuities in the structure and organization of the mathematical sciences are discussed, as well as their images in various milieux. Topics of research and the values with which they were defended are scrutinized. This book, in particular, proposes a more in-depth evaluation of the issue of modernity and modernization in mathematics.
The issue of scientific international relations after the war is revisited by a close look at the situation in a few Allied countries (France, Britain, Italy, and the USA). The historiography has emphasized the place of Germany as the leading mathematical country before WWI and the absurdity of its postwar ostracism by the Allies. The studies presented here help explain how dramatically different prewar situations, prolonged interaction during the war, and new international postwar organizations led to attempts at redrafting models for mathematical developments.