Our Daily Story #11: The Anonymous Mathematician “Nicolas Bourbaki”

Math Online Tom Circle

The romantic gallic Frenchmen like to joke and give pranks. We have already seen the Number 1 Mathematical ‘prank’ in Our Daily Story #1 (The Fermat’s Last Theorem), here is another 20th century Math prank “Nicolas Bourbaki” – the anonymous French mathematician who did not exist, but like Fermat, changed the scene of Modern Math after WW II.



André Weil (not to confuse with Andrew Wiles of FLT in Story #2 ) and his university classmates from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Évariste Galois‘s alma mater which expelled him for involvement in the French Revolution), wanting to do something on the outdated French university Math textbooks, formed an underground ‘clan’ in a Parisian Café near Jardin du Luxembourg. They met often to brainstorm and debate on the most advanced Math topics du jour. Finally they decided to totally re-write the foundation of Math based on Set…

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Author: tomcircle

Math amateur

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