Sunday, January 16, 2022

4th Congress, Bucharest 1971

 Reposted from 4th International Congress, Bucharest 1971 

I have never been to Romania. I was even unsure whether the country was called Romania, Roumania or Rumania. (I have now learned that since 1975 it is Romania).

I had only known about Dracula and Transylvania and  Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu's execution, as dreadful grainy pictures in old newspapers. So I was in a bit of a bind to tell a story about this congress, as I have been writing about others.

Of course the hard information about the Congress is  available. Most of the program committee consists  of very well known logicians: P. Suppes (Chairman), A. Mostowski, A.A. Markov, M. Rabin, G. Kreisel, W. Stegmüller, K. J. J. Hintikka, A. Grünbaum, M. O. Beckner, A. N. Leontiev, P. Lazarsfeld, S. Marcus,  and M. Hesse as Section Chairmen. This way I 'discovered' the work of Mary Hasse and you should too.

I also read about the Romanian Organizing Committee: A. Joja, G. Moisil, C. Popovici (General Secretary) and wondered about how close this congress was of the taking of power by Ceaușescu. I read most about Moisil, because I like algebraic logic. But this is not a sensible blog post material here. 

So I ended up looking up the President of the Executive Committee of the Congress, Stephan Körner, The University of Bristol BS8 IRJ, England. I learned that he was the father of Tom Korner, who was one of my professors in  the Cambridge Part III course. Tom was an extremely nice professor, not only to me, but to generations of Part III students. His website gives a glimpse of his kind of self-deprecating humour, which I always enjoyed, once I was able to understand it.

Tom has some advice for people taking Part III in his website. This brought back loads of memories of my year doing Part III in Cambridge: it definitely was the hardest course I've done in my life, by a very long stretch. So it's kind of comforting that much more accomplished people than me also say so. 

Reading his advice I was reminded of a story from when I first started in Cambridge. I could read English well and I could take exams fairly well (I was accepted in most of the Mathematics departments I applied to do my Phd), but I had been thinking of going to France, where I knew a professor doing categorical model theory. Hence my spoken English was terrible and my understanding of spoken English was even worse. For a few weeks in the beginning of Part III lectures, the abbreviation (TFAE = the following are equivalent) was written in the huge blackboards
of the Mill Lane Lecture rooms over and over. Little me assumed that the letters where the initials of some very famous mathematicians, so I kept thinking to myself, these guys, who are they? They're everywhere, even more than Gauss? How come I never heard of them? Eventually the penny dropped, but I think this shows how hard that first year was.


1st International Congress, Stanford 1960


Benedikt Loewe has done a great job of finding all the official information about the DLMPS congresses. And if you're only interested in the hard, concrete facts you can make your way to  the page of Past Congresses and be done. My intention here  is to discuss the fluffy side of some of the meetings, just for fun.

The first meeting at all was the

1st International Congress of the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Stanford University 1960

Now the Dept of Philosophy of Stanford has a nice history where we can read about the Suppes era, when the first congress happened. They say: 

Suppes’ indelible presence in the Department spanned sixty-four years (42 years on the full-time faculty, after which he remained deeply engaged as Emeritus Professor until his recent death in 2014). His foundational work across numerous fields in philosophy and in the sciences earned him many honors, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the National Medal of Science, and the Lakatos Award. 

First I thought my fluffy story about this conference would be the "mystery" in the preface where the editors say: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Professor Nagel was forced to resign as Chairman of the Organizing Committee just prior to the opening of the Congress, and Professor Tarski served in that capacity during its sessions.

This is good, we can conjure up a whole murder mystery on that "forced to resign", right?

But then looking at some of the papers (the book with only invited papers has 672 pages!) I discovered something much fluffier. For me at least. Here it is:

This is J. W. Addison talking about the "expanding babel of modern mathematics and logic". And bringing Hilbert into the picture to explain that Mathematics is an indivisible whole, a connected organism that as farther as it's developed, the more we can see the harmony between its parts. 

This is pink-unicorn kind of fluffy, as far as I'm concerned!

Congresses of the Division of Logic, methodology and philosophy of science and technology


The series of Congress of Logic Methodology and Philosophy of Science (since 2019 CLMPST; Congresses for Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology) are the quadriennial main event of

The next one will be held in July 2023 in Buenos Aires:

But there were 16 so far. So a small project of the Women in Logic network was created to read about these congresses and describe a little how logic and logicians have been interacting since the first one, in Stanford in 1960. 

I've asked for help writing small blog posts about the congresses, but  this was  a bit late and so not all the blog posts have been written, yet. But I will copy and reproduce here the ones that have been done.

Like everything else this blog is a work in progress!

World Logic Day 2022


Since 2019 the World Logic Day is celebrated on January 14th. So it's not an old tradition, but it's one that speaks to many logicians, who would like the work they do to be better known and appreciated. So the number of seminars, small conferences and round tables have been mushrooming, which is great!

But if one has so many meetings to go to and they are not recorded, they only give you a nasty feeling of "missing out": even in the pandemic, even when the meetings are free and in principle accessible you are not able to watch them all, to take it all in--of course one needs to think how accessible things are at 5 am-- and this is bad. Or feels bad. So I thought I would like to do something different for World Logic Day 2022.

It occurred to me that instead of a meeting we should celebrate by having the launching of the Women in Logic website ( this World Logic Day. We did a soft launch a week before (i.e Friday 8th) and tried to iron some of the issues, but some remained. Bugs in life and software are always there.

I'm really impressed with the website which is mostly the work of Juliet Szatko and Sandra Alves. It's beautiful, it contains lots of information about the work we've been doing in the WiL workshops, the facebook group, the twitter account, the slack channel, etc. It also points out the many projects that we are trying to do, but haven't got finished, yet. One of these small projects is described in the next blog posts, check it out!

 Many thanks for this exquisite gift, Juliet and Sandra!