[FOM] blind logicians and mathematicians

Louis H Kauffman kauffman at uic.edu
Thu May 21 19:36:44 EDT 2009

Dear Prof. Novaes,
For topologists, the most famous example is Bernard Morin.
Morin has been totally blind since the age of six, and he is the world's
expert on the very geometrially complicated eversion of the two
dimensional sphere in three space (though immersions).

I visited him in Strasbourg in 1989 and he gave us a wonderful tour of the
city, pointing out all the landmarks and guiding us at all times as we
supported his walking.
Lou Kauffman

On Thu, 21 May 2009, catarina dutilh wrote:

> Dear all,
> Here is a somewhat unconventional question: is anyone aware of there being or having been professional blind logicians or mathematicians? (Of a certain standing, of course.) I mean literally blind, or severely visually impaired as the  politically correct term has it.
> My motivation for posing this question is the investigation on cognitive aspects involved in the practices of logic (and mathematics) that I am currently undertaking. One hypothesis that has come up so far is that logic (and perhaps mathematics, but to a lesser extent) is essentially a *visual* enterprise, appealing to our visual cognitive capacities. So the question of whether there have been or are blind logicians (or mathematicians) is immediately an important one from this perspective, even though it might seem awkward in first instance. If there is such a person, it would be extremely interesting to see whether he or she works in ways that are fundamentally different from logicians with full use of their visual abilities; if there isn't such a person, then this fact may seem to give some support to the hypothesis that logic is essentially a visual enterprise.
> Thanks in advance for your cooperation!
> Catarina Dutilh Novaes
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