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Rockefeller and the Internationalization of Mathematics Between the Two World Wars : Documents and Studies for the Social History of Mathematics in the 20th Century :  Documents and Studies for the Social History of Mathematics in the 20th Century - Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze

Rockefeller and the Internationalization of Mathematics Between the Two World Wars : Documents and Studies for the Social History of Mathematics in the 20th Century

Documents and Studies for the Social History of Mathematics in the 20th Century

Hardcover Published: May 2001
ISBN: 9783764364687
Number Of Pages: 341

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Philanthropies funded by the Rockefeller family have been prominent in the social history of the twentieth century for their involvement in medicine and applied science. This book provides the first detailed study of their relatively brief but nonetheless influential foray into the field of mathematics. The careers of a generation of pathbreakers in modern mathematics, such as S.Banach, B.L.van der Waerden and André Weil, were decisively affected by their becoming fellows of the Rockefeller-funded International Education Board in the 1920s. To help promote cooperation between physics and mathematics Rockefeller funds supported the erection of the new Mathematical Institute in Göttingen between 1926 and 1929, while the rise of probability and mathematical statistics owes much to the creation of the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris by American philanthropy at about the same time. This account draws upon the documented evaluation processes behind these personal and institutional involvements of philanthropies. It not only sheds light on important events in the history of mathematics and physics of the 20th century but also analyzes the comparative developments of mathematics in Europe and the United States. Several of the documents are given in their entirety as significant witnesses to the gradual shift of the centre of world mathematics to the USA. This shift was strengthened by the Nazi purge of German and European mathematics after 1933 to which the Rockefeller Foundation reacted with emergency programs that subsequently contributed to the American war effort. The general historical and political background of the events discussed in this book is the mixture of competition and cooperation between the various European countries and the USA after World War I, and the consequences of the Nazi dictatorship after 1933. Ideological positions of both the philanthropists and mathematicians mattered heavily in that process. Cultural bias in the selection of fellows and of disciplines supported, and the economic predominance of American philanthropy, led among other things to a restriction of the programs to Europe and America, to an uneven consideration of European candidates, and to preferences for Americans. Political self-isolation of the Soviet Union contributed to an increasing alienation of that important mathematical culture from Western mathematics. By focussing on a number of national cultures the investigation aims to represent a step toward a true inter-cultural comparison in mathematics.

Industry Reviews

"...As mathematicians like George David Birkhoff and Oswald Veblen came increasingly to advise The Rockefeller Foundation's International Education Board (IEB) officials, mathematics began to benefit from Rockefeller philanthropy. Moreover, given the international focus of the Board, this philanthropy contributed in complex ways to the internationalization of science in general and of mathematics in particular. It is precisely this thorny historical problem of the Foundation's role in the internationalization of mathematics between the two World Wars that Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze confronts in his meticulously researched and abundantly illustrated book....

The book closes with a mere three-page "Epilogue" that could rather have been a true concluding chapter to a book that raises so many fascinating and complex issues. Still, Siegmund-Schultze has provided us with a wealth of data, a bounty of archival material, and much to think about as we continue to grapple with the social history of mathematics in the twentieth century."

--MAA Online

Introduction: The "Internationalization" of Mathematics and the Interests Therein of Scientists and Philanthropistsp. 1
The Notion of Internationalization as Used in this Book and the Unity of the International and National Dimensions of Science and Mathematicsp. 2
The Political and Ideological Dimension of "Internationalization" and Tentative Remarks About the More General Notion of "Modernization"p. 7
"Patriotic Political Posturing" of German Scientists After World War I and the Exemplary Degree of Internationalization of German Science: An Example for Possible Conflicts Between Scientific and Political Interestsp. 13
American Philanthropic Foundations and Their Interest in International Science and Mathematics Between the Two World Warsp. 16
The Intersection Between the Interests of Mathematicians and of the Foundations, and the Main Goals of this Bookp. 20
The Political and Economic Conditions for International Scientific Collaboration After World War I and the Situation in Mathematicsp. 27
Wickliffe Rose, the Beginnings of the International Education Board and the Central Role of the Fellowship Programp. 27
Rose's Trip to Europe (1923/24) and the Political and Economic Conditions for International Scientific Collaboration (Especially "Migrations") After World War Ip. 30
Rose's Trip to Europe, the Place of Physics and Mathematics in His Plan and the Peculiar Situation of German Mathematicsp. 35
Emergency Help Following Rose's Trip to Europe: Support for Mathematical Publications and the Exceptional Founding of a New Journal: The Journal of the London Mathematical Societyp. 38
International Comparisons in Mathematics on the Eve of Birkhoff's Trip to Europep. 42
Birkhoff as the Leading American Mathematician, His Trip to Europe in 1926, and His Conclusions on the Problem of Mathematical Communicationp. 46
Changed Assessments Following Birkhoff's Trip to Europe of the Relative Standing of International Mathematical Centresp. 50
General Ideological and Political Positions Underlying the IEB's Activitiesp. 57
Augustus Trowbridge's Appointment as Head of the IEB Office in Paris (1925)p. 57
The Relation Between "Saving" and "Developing" Scientific Cultures, and Between "Advanced" and "Backward" Countriesp. 61
Anti-Semitism as an Example for Political Resentmentsp. 63
The "Excellence" and "Best Science" Policy of the IEB and Its Inherent Conflict With Support for "Backward Countries". First Examples from the IEB Fellowship Program for Mathematiciansp. 65
Limits for the Transfer to Europe of the American (Sociological) Ideal of Cooperative Work in the Sciencesp. 70
Further American Ideals and Requirements of Communication (Decentralization, Oral Communication, Matching Funds, Large-Scale Grants)p. 71
The Practice of the Fellowship Programs of IEB (1923-1928) and RF (After 1928), and the Particular Situation of Mathematicsp. 77
Criteria for the Selection of Fellows, Problems of Meeting the Criteria, and Exceptions Madep. 79
Details and Examplesp. 81
The Restricted Power of the Advisors: Counselling, Tactics, and Dependence on the Philanthropists' Valuesp. 92
The Fellowship List, Some Related Statistics and First Conclusions, Especially With Respect to the Rise of American Mathematicsp. 96
Reflections on and Impressions of the Cognitive Dimension of the Fellowship Programsp. 106
Selected Social Problems of (Scientific) Mathematical Communication in the 1920s and 1930s. Particularly in France, as Revealed in the Sources on Fellowshipsp. 119
The Rise of Soviet-Russian Mathematics and Problems of Response on the Part of Rockefeller Philanthropy: Especially Besicovitch, Lusin, and Kolmogorovp. 125
The Dominance of National (American) Interests in the IEB/RF Policiesp. 133
Excursus: The Guggenheim Fellowship Program Since 1926p. 138
The Institute Projects in Europe 1926-1928: Gottingen, Paris, a Project Turned Down in Djursholm, and an Excursus on the Institute for Advanced Study in Princetonp. 143
The IEB Erects a New Mathematics Institute in Gottingenp. 144
The Foundation of the Institut Henri Poincare in Parisp. 156
The Mathematical Institute in Djursholm (Sweden): A Case of Rockefeller Help Refusedp. 178
Excursus: The Foundation of the School of Mathematics of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) Around 1932 and Its Relation to the Rockefeller Projectsp. 180
The Emergency Program of the RF After 1933 and Changing Attitudes of the RF Vis-A-Vis Mathematics Before the War: Mathematics Caught Between New Scientific Orientations and Catastrophic Political Developmentsp. 187
Introduction: The Peculiar Situation in Mathematics, Especially the Role of Warren Weaverp. 187
The Seizure of Power by the Nazis in Germany, Consequences for Mathematics, Reactions by Rockefeller Philanthropy, and the Impact on the Regular Program in Europep. 190
The Rockefeller Emergency Programs and Mathematicsp. 192
Support for Interdisciplinary Research and Bordering Subjects of Mathematics and Taking "Responsibility" for General European Valuesp. 206
Epiloguep. 217
Notesp. 221
Proposal by the Physicists of Gottingen for Support From the IEB 1924p. 245
A Memo by English Mathematician G. H. Hardy Asking for Support for a New Journal 1924p. 247
Nikolaj Lusin's Application for a IEB Fellowship, March 27, 1926p. 250
Paul Montel (1944) on the Origin of Plans for the Institut Henri Poincare in May 1926p. 251
A Memorandum by Augustus Trowbridge (IEB) on a Meeting With Emile Borel Concerning Plans for the Foundation of an Institute for Mathematics and Mathematical Physics in Paris (May 1926)p. 253
Report by A. Trowbridge on His trip to Gottingen July 2 Through July 4, 1926p. 256
G. D. Birkhoff's Report to the IEB of September 1926 Concerning His Trip to Europep. 265
Richard Courant's Assessment of American Mathematics as of 1927p. 272
IEB-Fellow Heinz Hopf 1928 on the Exemplary Sports Facilities at American Universitiesp. 275
David Hilbert's Request (1933) to his Former American Doctoral Student Mason, then President of the Rockefeller Foundation, in Favour of Dismissed Richard Courant (July 1933)p. 276
Richard Courant (1933) on Support by Rockefeller Philanthropy for the Erection of the Mathematical Institute in Gottingen 1926-1929p. 277
Correspondence Between Birkhoff, Borel, and Weaver (1937/38) on the Future Role of the Institut Henri Poincare (Paris)p. 279
Hermann Weyl (1941) of Princeton to the Rockefeller-Sponsored New School for Social Research About Chances to Save the "Bourbaki Enterprise"p. 284
Richard Courant's Letter (1944) to the Office of War Information on the Rockefeller Contribution to Science and Mathematicsp. 286
List of IEB/RF Fellows in Mathematics Until 1945p. 288
Guggenheim Fellows in Mathematics: Chronological List Until 1945 (Possibly Incomplete)p. 302
Dismissed Mathematicians From Europe Who Were Supported by the RF Emergency Fundp. 304
Literature and Archival Sourcesp. 307
Name Indexp. 319
Subject Indexp. 328
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9783764364687
ISBN-10: 3764364688
Series: Science Networks. Historical Studies
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 341
Published: May 2001
Country of Publication: CH
Dimensions (cm): 25.4 x 17.78  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.84

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