Category: tBC

  • What happened on the Bourbaki wedding day?

    Early on in this series we deciphered part of the Bourbaki wedding invitation The wedding was planned on “le 3 Cartembre, an VI” or, for non-Bourbakistas, June 3rd 1939. But, why did they choose that particular day? Because the wedding-invitation-joke was concocted sometime between mid april and mid may 1939, the most probable explanation clearly […]

  • Bourbaki and the miracle of silence

    The last pre-war Bourbaki congress, held in september 1938 in Dieulefit, is surrounded by mystery. Compared to previous meetings, fewer documents are preserved in the Bourbaki archives and some sentences in the surviving notules have been made illegible. We will have to determine the exact location of the Dieulefit-meeting before we can understand why this…

  • Who was ‘le P. Adique’?

    Last year we managed to solve the first few riddles of the Bourbaki code, but several mysteries still remain. For example, who was the priest performing the Bourbaki-Petard wedding ceremony? The ‘faire part’ identifies him as ‘le P. Adique, de l’Ordre des Diophantiens’. As with many of these Bourbaki-jokes, this riddle too has several layers.…

  • Where’s Bourbaki’s Escorial?

    Early 1936, Andre Weil and Evelyne Gillet made a pre-honeymooning trip to Spain and visited El Escorial. Weil was so taken by the place that he planned the next Bourbaki-conference to be held in a nearby college. However, the Bourbakis never made it to to Spain that summer as the Spanish Civil War broke out…

  • Seriously now, where was the Bourbaki wedding?

    A few days before Halloween, Norbert Dufourcq (who died december 17th 1990…), sent me a comment, containing lots of useful information, hinting I did get it wrong about the church of the Bourbali wedding in the previous post. Norbert Dufourcq, an organist and student of Andre Machall, the organist-in-charge at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church in 1939,…

  • Where was the Bourbaki wedding?

    I’m pretty certain I got the intended date & time of the Bourbaki-Pétard wedding right : June 3rd 1939 at 12h. Finding the exact location of the wedding-ceremony is an entirely different matter. And, quite probably, we are reading way too much in these pranks of the Weil-clan. Still, it’s fun trying to find an…

  • the bumpy road to the first Bourbaki congress

    The first Bourbaki congress took eventually place in Besse-en-Chandesse. But, its organization suffered from the ‘usual’ inter-departemental fighting, and also from a power-struggle within the group itself. On many issues de Possel and André Weil were on opposite sides, and it didn’t really help that there was a woman involved… Because Mandelbrojt, de Possel and…

  • Where is the Royal Poldavian Academy?

    Among the items found on Andre Weil at the time of his arrest was “a packet of calling cards belonging to Nicolas Bourbaki, member of the Royal Academy of Poldavia”. But then, where is the Royal Poldavian Academy situated? Well, surely in the Kingdom of Poldavia, which is a very strange country indeed, its currency…

  • When was the Bourbaki wedding?

    It’s great fun trying to decode some of the puns contained in Betti Bourbaki’s wedding invitation. Below a photograph, taken on May 13th 1939, of three of the practical jokers (from left to right : Ralph Boas, Frank Smithies and Andre Weil), the others were Claude Chabauty, Weil’s wife Eveline and Louis Bouckaert (from Louvain).…

  • The wedding invitation that nearly killed Andre Weil

    Andre Weil wrote about his arrest as a Russian spy in november 1939 : “The manuscripts they found appeared suspicious – like those of Sophus Lie, arrested on charges of spying in Paris, in 1870. They also found several rolls of stenotypewritten paper at the bottom of a closet. When I said these were the…