Science Research Public Lecture: Curtis McMullen

April 26, 2019

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 @5:30PM
Science Center Hall D
One Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

"A Skeptical History of Numbers"

Curtis McMullen
Professor of Mathematics
Harvard University

Quantum theory, virtual particles, curved space and dark energy all emerged from a critical assessment of the foundations of physics in the 20th century. In the same period, a foundational crisis threatened the edifice of mathematics itself. Focusing on the concept of numbers, this talk will recap some of the great leaps of imagination in the history of mathematical thought, describe the foundational crisis, critique the attempts to rescue certainty, and assess the current state of affairs.

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* A videorecording of this event will be posted on the Science Research Public Lectures page.