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Leonidas Alaoglu Memorial Lecture
in Mathematics
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
4:15 p.m.  151 Sloan

W. Hugh Woodin
Professor of Mathematics
University of California, Berkeley

The Universe Beyond (Far Beyond)

Abstract: Set Theory is the mathematical study of infinity. But is this really the study of anything? A major challenge to the claim that the mathematical conception of infinity is meaningful is the fact that over the last 50 years many of the fundamental problems of Set Theory have been shown to be unsolvable from the accepted axioms. The most famous example is the problem of Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis.

Axioms of Infinity are axioms for Set Theory which assert the existence of "very large" infinite sets. These have long been identified as a promising source of new axioms for Set Theory. But despite significant successes in exploiting these axioms, the ultimate goal of finding axioms which are compatible with the axioms of infinity and which also settle certain problems known to be unsolvable, like the Continuum Hypothesis, has seemed completely hopeless, until recently.

There is now a series of (formal) conjectures which if provable yield considerable insight into this dilemma, suggesting that there is a conception of the universe of sets which is as unambiguous as the current conception of the integers.

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Hugh Woodin received his B.S. in Mathematics from Caltech in 1977. He went to graduate school at U.C. Berkeley, and returned to Caltech as Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 1980 and became Full Professor in 1983. In 1989 he moved to U.C. Berkeley as Professor of Mathematics. He was a Miller Research Professor in 1997-98 and since 2003 he is a Distinguished Professor at U.C. Berkeley.

Professor Woodin is a world leader in the field of mathematical logic and has received numerous awards for his work, including in 1988 the Carol Karp Prize, awarded every five years by the Association for Symbolic Logic for outstanding work in this field. He was elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

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You are invited to attend a dinner following the Leonidas Alaoglu Memorial Lectures in Mathematics at The Athenaeum on Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Host bar   5:45 p.m.
Dinner  6:30 p.m.

Reservations Required


Salad Provencale
Roasted Breast of Mediterranean Chicken
Berries Athenaeum
Please indicate if you require a vegetarian or kosher meal

For reservations, please contact Stacey V. Croomes at 626-395-4336 or send payment by April 27, 2007 made out to Caltech for $35.00 per person to:

Stacey V. Croomes

Caltech 253-37

Pasadena, CA  91125

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The Leonidas Alaoglu Memorial Lecture was established by friends and family of the late Leonidas Alaoglu in recognition of his great talents, distinguished contributions to mathematics, and long friendship with Caltech. The Institute is privileged to honor his memory with a lecture each year by an outstanding mathematician.

 Last update: Friday, April 13, 2007 | © California Institute of Technology | Questions?  scroomes @