bourbaki, nicolas


bourbaki, nicolas

pseudonym chosen by eight or nine young mathematicians in France in the mid 1930s to represent the essence of a "contemporary mathematician." The surname, selected in jest, was that of a French general who fought in the Franco-German War (1870-71). The mathematicians who collectively wrote under the Bourbaki pseudonym at one time studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris and were admirers of the German mathematician David Hilbert. The founders included the Frenchmen Claude Chevalley, Andre Weil, Henri Cartan, and Jean Dieudonne; after World War II they were joined by the Polish American Samuel Eilenberg. Members agreed to retire from the group at age 50, but the group's ranks were replenished with new recruits.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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