FOM: Millenium Conference

Mark Steiner marksa at
Sun Jan 2 00:51:00 EST 2000

   I attended a "millenium" conference last week on the sciences in
Jerusalem, at which two world class "core" mathematicians spoke; one on
the last 100 years in mathematics and the other on predicting the course
of mathematics in the future (more precisely, whether it is possible to
predict the future of mathematics).
        I found it quite interesting that neither mathematician so much
stated a single theorem during the course of their lectures.  Unlike the
other lectures in astrophysics, biology, physics, etc., the listeners
could not get any information about the content of mathematics as it has
been or will be.
        Instead, both mathematicians gave what amounted to lectures in
the history of mathematics and its philosophy.  That is, both gave
lectures out of their field of expertise.  Both lectures were
interesting, of course, and worth hearing.
        There was one exception to the nonciting of theorems in the
BOTH lecturers mentioned Goedel's theorem!  One of them got the theorem
The idea was that Goedel's theorem could have constricted mathematics
but didn't.
        I therefore have to agree with some of the remarks that have
been made
on this list, though I didn't expect to.
        Another remarkable fact is that one of the speakers spoke about
interconnectedness of the various field of mathematics.  After
mentioning only Goedel's theorem as a mathematical theorem, he did not
even mention logic, to say nothing of f.o.m, as a possible mathematical
field.  I should mention what is well known to readers of this list,
that the Hebrew University has a number of famous logicians, who were in
the audience, but didn't react.
                        Mark Steiner

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