The potential for a revolution

Dr Carolin Antos is awarded a Freigeist Fellowship from the Volkswagen Foundation for examining the effects of the forcing technique on the foundations of mathematics

What happens when the foundations of a scientific discipline change without the practitioners being aware of this change?

This is the case confronting the mathematician and philosopher Carolin Antos in Konstanz. Her major focus so far has been set theory, and now the Volkswagen Foundation has awarded her a Freigeist Fellowship for her project “Forcing: Conceptual Change in the Foundations of Mathematics.” The fellowship is worth approximately 900,000 euros and represents one of the highest endowments in Germany for the promotion of junior researchers with creative minds. The interdisciplinary project will be investigating the conceptual change that has been taking place in mathematics since the advent of the forcing technique in mathematics in the 1960s. Although the mathematics behind these new foundations has been in constant use since then, the resulting new foundations have not yet been thoroughly explained. But, according to Carolin’s theory, they could bring about a revolutionary paradigm shift in both mathematics and in philosophy. A Bridge Fellowship from the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz enabled Carolin to complete the application for the Freigeist funding. We congratulate Carolin!

Find more information and a video in which Carolin explains the concept of forcing here.