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Richard Elwes
A UK based maths lecturer & writer.
A UK based maths lecturer & writer.

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Ludwig Faddeev

We are sorry to report the death of Ludwig Faddeev, renowned mathematical physicist & President of the International Mathematical Union 1987–90. Based at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics in Moscow, Feddeev was an outstanding scientist who made important contributions to his field. In the link is a short autobiography which he wrote on the occasion of winning the Shaw Prize for Mathematical Sciences in 2008.

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Acta Mathematica now available free online

The entire back-catalogue of Acta Mathematica (one of the world's top mathematics journals) is now freely available online, from the first issue in 1882 up to the current issue. This follows a new agreement between the Institut Mittag-Leffler and International Press.

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Raymond Smullyan dead at 97.

He was a logician, philosopher and set theorist (and also magician, pianist and puzzle-maker) from New York.

He published his last book, 'The Gödelian Puzzle Book: Puzzles, Paradoxes and Proofs', at the age of 94.


World's shortest explanation of Gödel's theorem
by Raymond Smullyan, from his book '5000 BC and Other Philosophical Fantasies'.

We have some sort of machine that prints out statements in some sort of language. It needn't be a statement-printing machine exactly; it could be some sort of technique for taking statements and deciding if they are true. But let's think of it as a machine that prints out statements.

In particular, some of the statements that the machine might (or might not) print look like these:

P*x (which means that the machine will print x)
NP*x (which means that the machine will never print x)
PR*x (which means that the machine will print xx)
NPR*x (which means that the machine will never print xx)

For example, NPR*FOO means that the machine will never print FOOFOO. NP*FOOFOO means the same thing. So far, so good.

Now, let's consider the statement NPR*NPR*. This statement asserts that the machine will never print NPR*NPR*.

Either the machine prints NPR*NPR*, or it never prints NPR*NPR*.

If the machine prints NPR*NPR*, it has printed a false statement. But if the machine never prints NPR*NPR*, then NPR*NPR* is a true statement that the machine never prints.

So either the machine sometimes prints false statements, or there are true statements that it never prints.

So any machine that prints only true statements must fail to print some true statements.

Or conversely, any machine that prints every possible true statement must print some false statements too.


(Image: Cover of the German version of '5000 BC and Other Philosophical Fantasies.')

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Press release: Open Letter on recent developments in science in the US

Open letter on transparency, openness & mobility in Science, from a number of European Science Organisations (including the European Mathematical Society) #ScienceIsGlobal

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Awards from the German Mathematical Society

We congratulate Gerd Faltings, who will be awarded the Cantor Medal of the German Mathematical Society (DMV) in September this year.

We also congratulate Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (who was the 2nd President of the EMS) who has been named honorary member of the DMV.

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The Science Solidarity List is a list of scientists offering temporary bench or desk space, library access and possibly even accommodation for US-based scientists stranded abroad due to Trump's travel ban. Please circulate, and add your names & details if you can.

This coordination is performed by the Initiative for Science in Europe, of which the EMS is a member.

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Statement from EMS President on Trump's Executive Order

"The European Mathematical Society is closely following the activities of our American colleagues in response to the Executive Order signed by US President Donald Trump, temporarily suspending travel to the US from seven countries. I support the statement signed by the AMS Board and the online academic petition opposing the ban. I share their worries about the consequences of this measure.

"Europe in the last century amassed too much experience of bans based on group identity and we know the devastating consequences they have. I am afraid that such policies will harm scientific work everywhere, including the United States."

- Professor Pavel Exner, President of the European Mathematical Society

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Call for nominations for the Ostrowski Prize 2017

The aim of the Ostrowski Foundation is to promote the mathematical sciences. Every second year it provides a prize for recent outstanding achievements in pure mathematics and in the foundations of numerical mathematics.

The jury invites nominations for candidates for the 2017 Ostrowski Prize. Nominations should be sent to the Chair of the jury for 2017, +Gil Kalai (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) by May 15, 2017.

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Ten Fields Medallists and 50 Nobel Laureates are among thousands of academics to sign a petition against President Trump's immigration ban:
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