Publication details

How differential geometry became (temporarily) obsolete in the life of Václav Hlavatý.

Investor logo


Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description In January 1950, Oswald Veblen indicated to Václav Hlavatý that the differential geometry he used to do before WWII was no longer in fashion among mathematicians. It was before the first ICM after WWII, the previous one having been held in Oslo, Norway in 1936. The wish of any mathematician of the time to participate at the congress was understandable: even mathematicians from behind the recently appearing Iron Curtain wished to participate. However, the comparison of programs of ICM in Oslo (1936) and at Harvard (1950) shows that the focus has indeed shifted. The main topic of 1950 ICM at Harvard was a new invention: the computer. Four years later, in an interview conducted in 1954, Hlavatý would still speak of pencil and paper being best for doing mathematics. However, the arrival of the computer was not the only reason for the temporary falling out of fashion of differential geometry. In my talk, I will explore how the developments in physics influenced the agenda in this field of mathematics.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info