David Mumford

Archive for Reprints, Notes, Talks, and Blog

Professor Emeritus
Brown and Harvard Universities

skip to content

Non-Scholarly Works

Working in math for a lifetime, you do get to indulge yourself from time to time reflecting on what the whole business is about. Here is a list of papers of this nature:

  • Trends in the Profession of Mathematics, Mitteilungen der Deutsche Mathematiker Vereinigung (DMV), 1998. These were my reflections after four years as President of the International Mathematical Union. Digital reprint
  • The Dawning of the Age of Stochasticity, in Mathematics: Frontiers and Perspectives, edited by V.Arnold, M. Atiyah, P. Lax and B. Mazur, AMS, 2000. Coming in the middle of my career upon probability and statistics, I have wondered if these areas are going come to dominate mathematics. Scanned reprint
  • Why I am a Platonist, Newsletter of European Math. Society, December 2008, pp. 27-30. Surely every mathematician must believe in some sort of objective existence of the truths they are uncovering. Digital reprint
  • Intelligent Design Found in the Sky with p < 0.001, Newsletter of the Swedish Mathematical Society, 2009. Statistics is amazing: the constellation Orion seems as good an argument for intelligent design as anything in evolution. Digital reprint
  • Foreword to The Best Writing on Mathematics 2012, edited by Mircea Pitici, Princteon Univ. Press, 2012. I try here to explain the essential difference of pure and applied math to the lay person. Digital reprint

Travel is one of the wonderful perks of being a Professor. I want to thank all my colleagues especially in England, France, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Brazil, China, and especially India who have welcomed me and showed me such friendship. Mathematics is now a fully international community for the first time in history. I have written a few reports on this:

  • Mathematics in the Near East, some personal observations, Notices of the AMS, May 2005
    Link to Notices and Digital reprint.
  • The Wolf Prize and Supporting Palestinian Education, Opinion piece in the Notices of the AMS, Sept. 2008, p.919.
    Link to Notices and Digital reprint. There were also two critical letters to the Editor and my responses in the November issue, pp.1368-1369. Digital reprint.
  • Passages to India, Hyderabad ICM issue of the Mathematical Intelligencer, 2010. Some personal reminiscences of visits that changed my life. Digital reprint

  • In addition, I've put further writings in three pages with links given above: Indra’s Pearls, a book written with Dave Wright and Caroline Series, addressed, as we put it, to all those who 'can handle high school algebra with confidence; work in the History of Mathematics; and work on Mathematics Education.