Summer School on the History of Space in Mathematics and Physics

June 29 - July 04, 2020
Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences

The Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig organizes a Summer School on the History of Space in Mathematics and Physics. The School deals with the history of the notion of space and its uses in the sciences. It will address topics such as the development of the concept of space from the Renaissance to the modern age, the birth of the notion of a mathematical space, the Newton-Leibniz debate on the nature of space, Kant’s theory of space and the foundations of physics, the further debates on non-Euclidean geometry and absolute space in the 19th century, the role of space in Relativity Theory and the epistemological discussions in the 1920s and 1930s, space in quantum mechanics, and some contemporary perspectives on cosmology and astrophysics. The School is open to PhD students writing a dissertation in any of the related field, as well as to Master Students in their final years who have a strong interest in the discipline, and post-doctoral researchers who have obtained their PhD since no more than five years and whose main field of research are the theory and history of space (in mathematics, physics, philosophy).

The School will take place in Leipzig from Monday, the 29th June, to Saturday, the 4th of July, 2020. The six days of the School are dedicated to an intensive series of lectures and discussions on various aspects of the history of the notion of space, given by leading experts in the field.

The six professors lecturing at the School are:

  • Vincenzo De Risi (Laboratoire SPHère, France / MPIWG, Germany)
  • Robert DiSalle (Western University, Canada)
  • Brigitte Falkenburg (TU Dortmund, Germany)
  • Michael Friedman (Stanford University, USA)
  • Jürgen Jost (MPI MiS, Germany)
  • Jeffrey Weeks (Geometry Games)

and an inaugural lecture by astrophysicist Richard Ellis (University College London, UK).

The organizers of the School will take care of the accommodation of all the participants in Leipzig, of the morning and afternoon tea/coffee breaks as well as lunches during the days of the School.

Limited funds are available to cover the travel expenses to Leipzig from abroad. Please specify your financial needs in the application form.

Applications may be submitted electronically by March 2nd, 2020. The outcome of the evaluation process will be communicated by the end of March, 2020 at the latest.

  • Master students should provide:
    • a letter of intent explaining their interest in the theory and history of space;
    • a Curriculum Vitae;
    • a letter of recommendation by their supervisor.
  • PhD students should provide:
    • a letter of intent explaining their interest in the theory and history of space;
    • a Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications (if any);
    • a five-page exposé of their dissertation, as well as the names of their supervisors.
  • Post-doctoral researchers should provide:
    • a letter of intent explaining their interest in the theory and history of space;
    • a Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications;
    • a writing sample (a paper or a chapter of the dissertation).

The relevant documents may be written in English, French, or German. All the lectures and discussions of the School will be in English, and the applicants are requested to be able to explain their views in this language.

For questions concerning the School, please contact

  • Antje Vandenberg

The organizers

  • Vincenzo De Risi
  • Jürgen Jost

Date and Location

June 29 - July 04, 2020
Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences
Inselstr. 22
04103 Leipzig

Scientific Organizers

Vincenzo De Risi, CNRS, Laboratoire SPHère, Paris (France) & MPI for the History of Science (Germany)

Jürgen Jost
MPI for Mathematics in the Sciences
Leipzig (Germany)

Administrative Contact

Antje Vandenberg
MPI for Mathematics in the Sciences (Germany)
Contact by Email

30.03.2020, 01:27