Map of the Parisian mathematical scene 1933-39

. Michele Audin has written a book on the history of the Julia seminar (hat tip +Chandan Dalawat via Google+). The “Julia Seminar” was organised between 1933 and 1939, on monday afternoons, in the Darboux lecture hall of the Institut Henri Poincare. After good German tradition, the talks were followed by tea, “aimablement servi par Mmes Dubreil et Chevalley”. A… Read more →


Children have always loved colimits

If Chad Orzel is able to teach quantum theory to his dog, surely it must be possible to explain schemes, stacks, toposes and motives to hipsters? Perhaps an idea for a series of posts? It’s early days yet. So far, I’ve only added the tag sga4hipsters (pun intended) and googled around for ‘real-life’ applications of sheaves, cohomology, and worse. Sooner… Read more →


Grothendieck’s gribouillis

A math-story well worth following in 2015. What will happen to Grothendieck’s unpublished notes, or as he preferred, his “gribouillis” (scribbles)? Here’s the little I know about this: 1. The Mormoiron scribbles During the 80ties Grothendieck lived in ‘Les Aumettes’ in Mormoiron In 1991, just before he moved to the Pyrenees he burned almost all of his personal notes in… Read more →

On categories, go and the book $in$

On categories, go and the book $\in$

A nice interview with Jacques Roubaud (the guy responsible for Bourbaki’s death announcement) in the courtyard of the ENS. He talks about go, categories, the composition of his book $\in$ and, of course, Grothendieck and Bourbaki. Clearly there are pop-math books like dedicated to $\pi$ or $e$, but I don’t know just one novel having as its title a single… Read more →


Oulipo’s use of the Tohoku paper

Many identify the ‘Tohoku Mathematical Journal’ with just one paper published in it, affectionately called the Tohoku paper: “Sur quelques points d’algèbre homologique” by Alexander Grothendieck. In this paper, Grothendieck reshaped homological algebra for Abelian categories, extending the setting of Cartan-Eilenberg (their book and the paper both appeared in 1957). While working on the Tohoku paper in Kansas, Grothendieck did… Read more →


le petit village de l’Ariège

For me this quest is over. All i did was following breadcrumbs left by others. Fellow-travelers arrived there before. What did they do next? The people from the esoteric site L’Astrée, write literary texts on Grothendieck, mixing strange details (such as the kiosque de la place Pinel, the village of Fougax-et-Barrineuf and even ‘Winnie’ or ‘Fred le Belge, notre indic… Read more →


G-spots : Saint-Girons

Roy Lisker (remember him from the Mormoiron post?) has written up his Grothendieck-quest(s), available for just 23$, and with this strange blurb-text: “The author organized a committee to search for him that led to his discovery, in good health and busily at work, in September, 1996. This committee has since become the Grothendieck Biography Project. All of this is recorded… Read more →


G-spots : un petit village de l’Ariège

We would love to conclude this series by finding the location of the “final” Grothendieck-spot, before his 85th birthday, this thursday. But, the road ahead will be treacherous, with imaginary villages along the way and some other traps planted by the nice people of the Grothendieck Fan Club It is well-known that some members (if not all) of the GFC… Read more →


G-spots : Olmet-et-Villecun

Before we start the quest for the final G-spot, hopefully in time for Grothendieck’s 85th birthday, one more post on Alexandre’s ‘hippy-days’. In the second part of Allyn Jackson’s “The Life of Alexandre Grothendieck” she tells the story that AG, while touring the US to spread the gospel of the eco-mouvement “Survivre et Vivre” (the deal was that he gave… Read more →


G-spots : Massy

One week from now, Alexandre Grothendieck will turn 85. Today, we’ll have a glance at his ‘wilder years’, the early 70ties, when he resigned from the IHES and became one of the leading figures in the French eco-movement. This iconic picture is from those days The text reads: “Schurik entre les “frères ennemis” Gaston Galan et Dyama, rue Polonceau. Derrière,… Read more →


G-spots : Mormoiron

With Grothendieck’s 85th brithday coming up, march 28th, we continue our rather erratic quest to locate the spots that once meant a lot to him. Ever wondered what Grothendieck’s last-known hideout looked like? Well, here’s the answer: (h/t gruppe eM) And, here’s the story. One of the stranger stories to be found on the web is the Grothendieck quest by… Read more →


G-spots : Vendargues

In a couple of days, on march 28th, Alexandre Grothendieck will turn 85. To mark the occasion we’ll run a little series, tracking down places where he used to live, hoping to entice some of these villages in the south of France to update their Wikipedia-page by adding under ‘Personnalités liées à la commune’ the line – Alexandre Grothendieck (né… Read more →


16 ways to capture a lion (in 1938)

A classic among mathematical jokes is the paper in the August/September 1938 issue of the American Mathematical Monthly “A contribution to the mathematical theory of big game hunting” by one Hector Petard of Princeton who would marry, one year later, Nicolas Bourbaki’s daughter Betti. claimtoken-511b561b7a5a2 There are two main sources of information on the story behind this paper. There are… Read more →