Ideas of point. An elusive concept in mathematics and physics throughout history

14/11/2013 - 16/11/2013

14-16 Novembre 2013

SISSA, Trieste


Ideas of point. An elusive concept in mathematics and physics throughout history


This workshop aims at gathering together mathematicians, physicists, historians of science and philosophers to discuss the problematic concept of “point” from a plurality of viewpoints. From ancient Greece to the present, the notion of “point” has actually been debated extensively throughout the entire history of mathematics: just to make a few obvious examples we may cite the problem of the continuum, the interplay between local and global structures in differential geometry, the idea of “point” in algebraic geometry or Grothendieck’s topos theory and the categorical perspective. The mathematical issues have been in many cases tightly related to or even dependent on philosophical arguments or physical considerations: from Aristotle to Leibniz, from the concept of point particle in classical mechanics to the question of locality in quantum field theory, from Boscovich to string theory.


Ivited Speaker

Fabio Acerbi (Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris)

Luca Barbieri Viale (Dipartimento di Matematica, Università di Milano)

Vincenzo De Risi (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)

Sergio Doplicher (Dipartimento di Matematica, Università "La Sapienza", Roma)

Luca Guzzardi (Università di Pavia)

Eberhard Knobloch (Institut für Philosophie, Literatur-, Wissenschafts- und Technikgeschichte, Technische Universität Berlin)

Giovanni Landi (Università di Trieste)

Yuri Manin (Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, Bonn)

Pier Daniele Napolitani (Università di Pisa)

Carlo Rovelli (Centre de Physique Théorique de Luminy)

Cecilia Trifogli (All Souls College, University of Oxford)

Achille Varzi* (Department of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York)


Organizing and scientific committee: Claudio Bartocci ( Università di Genova), Ugo Bruzzo (SISSA), Boris Dubrovin (SISSA), Giulio Giorello (Università di Milano), Monica Ugaglia (Università di Udine).


* da confermare