NBA History of Science Seminar: Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze

Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze, “The Oslo Congress of Mathematicians on the eve of the Second World War”

Photograph of Harald Bohr in the Oslo-based Norwegian daily newspaper  “Aftenposten,” 13 July 1936.

The talk focuses upon and stresses the historically unique character of the International Congress of Mathematicians that took place in Oslo in 1936. This congress was the only one on this level to be held during the period of the Nazi regime in Germany (1933–1945) and after the wave of emigrations from it.  The differences between the goals of the various participants in the congress, most particularly the Norwegian organisers, and the Nazi-led German delegation will be described.  The background to the absence of the proposed Soviet and Italian delegations will be discussed. Norwegian newspaper articles with interviews with Harald Bohr and Otto Neugebauer will be discussed.

The talk is based on a book about to appear coauthored with Christopher Hollings (Oxford). There we go, more than possible in this talk, into the mathematical dimension of the Oslo congress.

Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze

Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze, University of Agder.

Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze (born 1953) studied mathematics in his hometown Halle in the Eastern part of Germany. He has been working as a historian of mathematics from the 1980s and has been professor in this field at the University of Agder in Kristiansand (Norway) from 2000. The main focus of his research has been mathematics in the 19th and 20th centuries with emphasis on mathematics in the Third Reich and on disciplinary developments in function theory, probability theory, and applied mathematics. He is still optimistic to complete a scientific biography of the pioneer of applied mathematics Richard von Mises (1883-1953).