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Mathematicians and scientists as public figures: Living in Ivory Towers?

štvrtok, január 4, 2018 - 09:00 to nedeľa, január 7, 2018 - 12:15

Dept. of Mathematics, Faculty of Education, Masaryk University in Brno, Dept. of Mathematics and Descriptive Geometry, VSB-Technical Univ. of Ostrava, in co-operation with the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists and the Czech Society for History of Science and Technology (Brno branches) cordially invite you to an interdisciplinary workshop in the series Mathematics and Society Mathematicians and scientists as public figures: Living in Ivory Towers?

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, The Financial Times demanded that “mathematicians must get out of their ivory towers”. However, have they ever really been there? Is the profession of a mathematician incompatible with that of a politician, as Timothy Gowers suggests?  Does interest in mathematics or science need to exclude involvement in the public sphere, including politics? In the history of science, there are several prominent examples of scientists who got heavily involved in politics. This was the case of Anton Pannekoek, a prominent astronomer and a socialist theorist. Albert Einstein’s involvement in the Frauenglass affair in the McCarthy era is also quite well known. An example par excellence is Dirk Jan Struik (1894–2000), who was not only involved in politics, but also sought to challenge the view of mathematics as something that gets created in an ivory tower.  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 culture. We welcome contributed talks related to this year’s topic.

When: 4 – 7 January 2018
Where: University Centre Telč, (web in Czech only) Náměstí Zachariáše z Hradce 2, TELČ, Czechia
For: historians and philosophers of mathematics, historians and philosophers of science, mathematicians, mathematics teachers and students, and also others interested in the topic