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Bicentennial Celebration of the Work of Hermann Grassmann (1809 - 1877)

Last week (17th January 2011) saw the publication by Birkhäuser of the Proceedings of a major conference held in 2009 in Potsdam and Szczecin in honour of Hermann Grassmann. The major organiser was Hans-Joachim Petsche (Potsdam) but Steve Russ was a co-organiser, along with Jörg Liesen (Berlin), Albert C. Lewis (Austin, Texas) and Franco Ferrari (Szczecin, Poland). In November 2010 the conference was the first-time winner of a prize awarded by the Brandenburg state for 'Innovative and/or exceptional events'.


Hermann Grassmann was author of a work 'Extension Theory' (1844 and 1862) which contained much of the theory of vector spaces and linear algebra in a remarkably abstract and modern form which was a forerunner and direct influence for the vector and tensor calculus developed later by Gibbs, Heaviside and others, on Clifford algebras and on the differential forms of E. Cartan. Several papers at the conference testified to the continuing influence and fruitfulness of Grassmann's ideas for mathematics and computing, especially for the visualisation of crystallographic structure and to geometric algebra computing.

The conference saw the publication of an English translation of Petsche's biography of Grassmann for which Steve Russ was a consultant. Steve was a co-editor of the Proceedings volume to which he also contributed a paper 'Concepts and contrasts: Hermann Grassmann and Bernard Bolzano'.

Fri 28 Jan 2011, 12:17