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Founder of the Secret Society of Mathematicians 103

Anti-Globalism suggests an article at Science News on the passing of Henri Cartan, one of the founding members of a strange and influential group of French mathematicians in the twentieth century. "In the 1930s, a group of young French mathematicians led an uprising that revolutionized mathematics. France had lost most of a generation in the First World War, so the emerging hotshots in mathematics had few elders to look up to. And when these radicals did look up, they didn't like what they saw. The practice of mathematics at the time was dry, scattered and muddled, they believed, in need of reinvention and invigoration... Using the nom de plume Nicolas Bourbaki (after a dead Napoleonic general), they wrote a series of textbooks laying out mathematics the right way. Though the young mathematicians started out only intending to write a good textbook for analysis..., they ended up creating dozens of volumes which formed a manifesto for a new philosophy of mathematics. The last of the founders of Bourbaki, Henri Cartan, died August 13 at age 104... Two of his students won the Fields medal..., one won the Nobel Prize in physics and another won the economics Nobel."

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