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Number Theory


On the notion of culture as a category of analysis in the history of mathematics
Date: 05/09/2022, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Category: Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik, Veranstaltung
Speaker: François Lê

This talk aims at challenging the use of the notion of culture to describe a particular organization of mathematical knowledge, a knowledge shared by a few mathematicians over a short period of time in the second half of the 19th century. This knowledge relates to "geometrical equations," objects which proved crucial for the modalities of encounters between a part of geometry and a part of algebra (group theory) at the time. The description of the collective activities linked to geometrical equations, including the technical aspects of these activities, will be made on the basis of a sociological definition of culture. More precisely, after an examination of the social organization of the mathematicians considered, I will argue that these activities form an intricate system of patterns, values, and symbols, for which I suggest a characterization as a cultural system.

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