FOM: Bourbaki is alive

Giuseppe Longo Giuseppe.Longo at
Tue Sep 15 10:53:26 EDT 1998

Bourbaki is far from being dead (the story mentioned in FOM was a  
"canular", a well-organised joke of many years ago):
a book has been published not long ago
 Bourbaki, N.
    Elements de mathematique : Algebre commutative.
    Chap. 5 : entiers.  Chap. 6 : valuations. Chap. 7 : diviseurs /
    Paris :  Masson, 1985. - 351 p.;
there is a regular Seminaire Bourbaki at ENS, which produces, every  
few months, a thick volume of mathematically very high standard  
(see Seminaire Bourbaki at; 
more books are in a (slow) pipeline for production; the  
"Association Bourbaki" has an office at ENS, and a (part time)  
(Mme Le Dret  ext. 2088,  Ulm 45   RC   J5   BOURBAKI ).
The formal members form a "secret" group; but they must
"retire" at the age of 50, then they can speak loud.  I often  
discussed with Pierre Cartier, who is very open-minded, and I have  
an ongoing, so far informal, collaboration with a recently "retired"  
one (a leading geometer - working in singularities, at ENS): he  
surely has "foundational" interest and most of todays' Bourbaki's  
people, he tells me, do not like Dieudonne''s way of presenting  
matters. (We both naively like to stress a structural-geometric side  
in mathematics, besides the formal-linguistic one, probably under  
the influence of some aspects of Bourbaki's).  Surely, Bourbaki  
today never or rarely discusses foundation.  Yet, as I am an  
(applied) logician, when I eat at the "cantine" of ENS , where  
Dieudonne' spirit is still wandering around, I wait for my neighbour  
to eat first .... just to check for poison.  (I forgot to do so at  
Henri Cartan 93rd (!!) birthday dinner, last year, but I survived it  
very well, and actually enjoied Cartan's lively, open-minded 15  
minutes speach.)

Giuseppe Longo
CNRS et Dept. de Mathematiques et Informatique
Ecole Normale Superieure
Paris   (France)

More information about the FOM mailing list