David Mumford

Archive for Reprints, Notes and Talks

Professor Emeritus, Brown and Harvard Universities

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The purpose of this web site

I have lived through a startling transition in the mechanics of scholarly work. When I started as a graduate student, research was done in libraries, papers were in journals and books were treasured items for lifelong consultation. The background to this page is my wife's shot of the University Library in Coimbra, Portugal. Widener Library at Harvard used to evoke similar feelings in me. But now more and more is going online, for better or for worse.

One wonders who worries about issues of archiving. Babylonian tablets are a miracle of preservation - their condition even improved by fire and surviving for four millenia. But Victorian publications are largely on acid paper and are rapidly crmbling. How long will the "pdf" and "doc" formats last and will our hard drives loose bits? Anyway, I thought a digital archive was a sensible approach while we are in the midst of a chaotic period of change. This web site, put together with the help of my son Peter is a considered course.

I also believe the research enterprise depends on the free dissemination of scholarly material and I have no faith that any commercial publishers are 'on our side' as they are in no way answerable to the scholarly community. I hereby grant all of my works to the public domain, including digital rights to all material which I never explicitly granted to any publisher. Material in this web site is granted as "fair use" to any and all scholars and interested readers.

I have divided my material into three categories - algebraic geometry, vision and things such as history of math, philosophy of math and math education which are not pure or applied math research. Hopefully the 'navbar' above makes searches easy. This web site is still under development. Some of my papers are in the Harvard archive 'DASH' (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard with URL dash.harvard.edu), some AMS journals are on line and some of my preprints are in the arXiv: I am putting links for these in the corresponding entry. I am scanning and linking my remaining reprints for non-commercial use only, but this is not yet complete.