Description

Mathematics Colloquium

Speaker: Prof. Michael J. Barany from

Dartmouth College

Date & Time: 7th February, 4-5pm

Venue: Ramanujan Hall

Title: A Synthesis and a Simplification: Difficulty and differentiation in

the intercontinental history of the theory of distributions.

Abstract: Between 1945 and 1960, French mathematician Laurent Schwartz’s

theory of distributions became one of the first of a new kind of

mathematical theory: one shared and studied almost from the start across

multiple continents. Today, distributions have mostly settled into a

comfortable niche in the basic graduate (or in some cases advanced

undergraduate) mathematics curriculum, as a theory many researchers use

routinely as a basic tool while many others safely ignore it. But in those

early years the theory’s leading expositors came to many different answers

about how difficult the theory was, who should study it, and what that

meant for the theory’s place in modern mathematics. My talk will explain

the early history of Schwartz’s theory with special attention to the

question of how difficult the theory was understood to be in different

contexts across five continents. The fact that there were so many different

answers to the question of distributions’ difficulty, I argue, can explain

how the theory was able to spread so far and so quickly. This, in turn,

calls attention to the changing nature of mathematical theories themselves

in the mid-twentieth century.

Speaker: Prof. Michael J. Barany from

Dartmouth College

Date & Time: 7th February, 4-5pm

Venue: Ramanujan Hall

Title: A Synthesis and a Simplification: Difficulty and differentiation in

the intercontinental history of the theory of distributions.

Abstract: Between 1945 and 1960, French mathematician Laurent Schwartz’s

theory of distributions became one of the first of a new kind of

mathematical theory: one shared and studied almost from the start across

multiple continents. Today, distributions have mostly settled into a

comfortable niche in the basic graduate (or in some cases advanced

undergraduate) mathematics curriculum, as a theory many researchers use

routinely as a basic tool while many others safely ignore it. But in those

early years the theory’s leading expositors came to many different answers

about how difficult the theory was, who should study it, and what that

meant for the theory’s place in modern mathematics. My talk will explain

the early history of Schwartz’s theory with special attention to the

question of how difficult the theory was understood to be in different

contexts across five continents. The fact that there were so many different

answers to the question of distributions’ difficulty, I argue, can explain

how the theory was able to spread so far and so quickly. This, in turn,

calls attention to the changing nature of mathematical theories themselves

in the mid-twentieth century.

Description

Ramanujan Hall, Department of Mathematics

Date

Wed, February 7, 2018

Start Time

4:15pm-5:00pm IST

Duration

45 minutes

Priority

5-Medium

Access

Public

Created by

DEFAULT ADMINISTRATOR

Updated

Tue, February 6, 2018 11:49am IST