Some bridges in Königsberg. See here for the full story.|
Tagungsnachlese, Königsberg 1930
In 1930 the city of Königsberg hosted the "Tagung für Erkenntnislehre der exakten Wissenschaften" (in connection with the "Physiker-, Mathematik- und Naturforscher-Tagung"). The announcement (together with the schedule, organizational details etc.) can be found here (this is the "Rundschau" section in the first volume of Erkenntnis from January 1930. It contains also a funny article titled "Deutsche Philosophie im Urteil eines Amerikaners".).
The two main topics were: the foundation of mathematics and the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics. If I had the chance for a time travel I would like to pick September 1930 to join this meeting. However, the talks have been published in Erkenntnis Volume 2, Number 1. December, 1931:
September the 6th (saturday)
September the 7th (sunday)
This conference was remarkable for the following reason: it was the last "pre-Gödel" meeting on that topic (i.e. prior to the publication of his incompleteness theorem(s)). Gödel presented in Königsberg the result of his Ph.D. (interestingly the completeness of first order logic) but his first incompleteness theorem was already discoverd. In the above discussion he mentions it, although rather casually. As mentioned above, the meeting was organized at the same time as the "Physiker-, Mathematik- und Naturforscher-Tagung". Ironically, the opening address of this conference (on September the 8th) was deliverd by Hilber, titled "Naturerkenntnis und Logik" (published in Naturwissenschaften, Vol 18, No. 47-49, Nov. 1930). It ends with an emphatic commitment to the solvability of all problems and the grandness of human mind:
"Für den Mathematiker gibt es kein Ignorabimus, und meiner Meinung nach für die Naturwissenschaft überhaupt nicht. [...] Statt des törichten Ignorabimus heiße im Gegenteil unsere Losung: Wir müssen wissen, Wir werden wissen." (Hilbert, 1930)It is very likely that Gödel attended this lecture - knowing already that contary to Hilbert's belief mathematics contains undecidable statements.