Dan Mostow on Haaretz and Other Updates

Enlightenment at a red traffic light

Wolf Prize laureate Prof. George Daniel Mostow made his greatest scientific breakthrough while driving.

Haaretz tells the story of how Dan Mostow reached his breakthrough known as Mostow’s rigidity theorem.


Congratulations, Dan!

French-Isreali Meeting and Günterfest


More updates: If you are in Paris On Wednesday and Thursday this week there will be a lovely French-Isreali interacademic meeting on mathematics.  The problem is very interesting, and I will give a talk quite similar to my recent MIT talk on quantum computers.

In the  weekend  we will celebrate Günter Ziegler’s 50th birthday in Berlin. Günter started very very young so we had to wait long for this.


 Happy birthday, Gunter

This entry was posted in Updates and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dan Mostow on Haaretz and Other Updates

  1. I would like to add a bit of historical context to the episode which Mostow mentions in passing in his interview to Ha’aretz.

    The Warsaw ICM was planned when Poland was still firmly a socialist country, but when the event occurred, the “Solidarity” independent trade union was already making inroads into the communist grip on power and even the martial law was announced in order to fight the popular demand for change. Poland was the first to radiate hope for the future change which took almost 10 more years.

    The ailing Soviet regime responded to the Polish events in its unique way (apart from the direct military threat of intervention, of course). All Poles were declared suspicious persons until proven otherwise. As a corollary, a mathematical manuscript citing authors with Polish names was destined to disappear for long months in the dark belly of the state censorship Leviathan, with a good chance of being ultimately not cleared for publication “in the open press”. People in the know frantically instructed each other to avoid mentioning Polish names (even of US mathematicians) at all costs, to avoid ban or delays in publication.

    In this hysteric atmosphere it was obvious that the Soviet delegation for the Congress would either boycott it or (more likely) consist of “trusted members” who under no circumstances would ever compromise the staunch ideological support for the Communist rule in Poland. If not for the efforts of Dan Mostow and his colleagues, this would be certainly the case. Yet, thanks to the Mostow’s notorious rigidity, the Soviet academic authorities had to yield to the pressure and let the people who really were the cream of the Soviet mathematics to go meet their colleagues.

    Today it might seem like a minor episode from the distant past, yet for many people it was a turning point in their professional career.

    יישר כח ועד 120!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s