This is only apparently a sex scandal

The news that several departments at Harvard, including the mathematics department, maintained connections with Jeffrey Epstein for many years after his conviction in 2008 “on charges related to soliciting minors for prostitution” has provided an opportunity for expressions of Schadenfreude on the part of several of my French colleagues.  Last September, after Harvard President Lawrence […]

Roundtable video, incorrect proofs, true theorems

The Helix Center has now posted the video of Saturday’s round table on “Mechanization of Mathematics”.  The discussion was lively and everyone agreed that we should meet again, or even that we should organize a conference on the theme. Since concern about correctness of proofs is one of the primary motivations of mathematicians who are […]

Will Cédric Villani’s reputation survive his association with Macron?

Cédric Villani’s political orientation has come under increasing scrutiny since his election as deputy on the “République En Marche” (LREM) list created by French President Emmanuel Macron, whose own popularity has fallen precipitously over the first two years of his mandate.  Villani’s announcement that he would run, and occasionally dance, for the LREM slot in […]

Ethical Engagement

  The webpage of the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project is still under construction, but the first three Discussion Papers are already available at this page, with more on the way.  The title page of the first of these papers, by Maurice Chiodo and Piers Bursill-Hall, is reproduced above.  The authors propose a four-level sequence […]

Mathematicians as beneficiaries, and their patrons

What follows are the uncorrected notes for a presentation by videolink at the first workshop on Ethics in Mathematics, held in Cambridge April 20-21, 2018. It’s a humbling experience for me to be asked to speak at this meeting, alongside some authentically legendary figures. Maurice Chiodo and Piers Bursill-Hall have assembled a stellar lineup in […]