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Some Major Research Departments of Mathematics
Saunders Mac~Lane
AMS-MAA Joint Lecture Series
1989; 60 minutes; DVD
ISBN-10: 0-8218-4337-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-4337-6
List Price: US$25
Order Code: DVD/22
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With a biting wit and an engaging manner, Saunders Mac Lane, elder statesman of the American mathematical community, provides a historical perspective on the development of mathematics research departments in this country. Starting with Berlin at the turn of the century and Göttingen in the 1930s, Mac Lane chronicles the influence of these departments on the development of mathematics in this country. He describes the strengths of some of the most influential American departments and evaluates the theory of "mathematical inheritance" as a method of building an excellent research department. He also provides interesting commentary on such issues as "objective rankings" of departments, some science policy issues, and the ills of calculus textbooks. In addition, Mac Lane's well-known affinity for verse comes into play as he enlivens the lecture with a number of humorous poems illustrating various themes in his talk.

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