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Topic: [HM] Bourbaki and logic
Replies: 2   Last Post: Oct 8, 2004 4:03 PM

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Posts: 401
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Bourbaki and logic
Posted: Oct 8, 2004 4:03 PM
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In the book "Elementary Number Theory" (Chelsea, New York, 1958.
An English translation of vol. 1 of the German book Vorlesungen ueber
Zahlentheorie), p.31, the author, Edmund Landau, mentions the question
whether the infinite series $\sum \mu(n)/n$ converges (TEX notation; \mu
is the Moebius function). After giving a reference to the answer in Part
7 of the same V.u.Z, and without saying what the answer is, Landau writes:
"Gordan used to say something to the effect that "Number Theory is useful
since one can, after all, use it to get a doctorate with." In 1899 I
received my doctorate by answering this question."

So even if Bourbaki said something similar about logic, it certainly
was not an original sentiment.

From troubled Jerusalem

Avinoam Mann

On Fri, 8 Oct 2004, Jose Ferreiros wrote:

> Dear friends,
> I remember having once read or heard the following anecdote about some
> Bourbaki member. He (maybe Dieudonne) should have said that the usefulness
> of mathematical logic consists in that graduate students can write a
> dissertation on the topic. The implication was clearly that this is not
> serious mathematics, but Ok before one is ready to do serious things.
> The problem is that I don't know whether the anecdote is reliable, and I
> cannot remember who may have told it. Remember that one should not trust all
> that one hears. Can anyone help?
> Thanks and all the best,
> Jose Ferreiros

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