Prague, August 26 – 30, 2013

Bernard Bolzano Lecture

given by the 2013 Bernard Bolzano Honorary Medal Winner

Pavel Drábek

Plzeň, Czech Republic

Two notions which affected nonlinear analysis

The Bernard Bolzano Honorary Medal

The Bernard Bolzano Honorary Medal for Merits in the Mathematical Sciences was founded by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and created by the Czech sculptor Jan Václav Straka (1918–1983) in 1965,  in order to appreciate important scientific achievements in Mathematics. Since 1995, it is awarded by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic to distinguished mathematicians who have considerably contributed to the development of their research field.

Previous Bernard Bolzano Honorary Medal Winners include Kazimierz Kuratowski, Jaroslav Kurzweil, Czeslaw Olech, Sergei L. Sobolev, Jindřich Nečas, Gene H. Golub, Ivo Babuška, David E. Edmunds, Jean Mawhin, Michal Křížek, Gilles Godefroy.

Bernard Bolzano

The Bernard Bolzano Honorary Medal is named after Bernardus Placidus Johann Nepomuk Bolzano (October 5, 1781 – December 18, 1848), influential mathematician, logician and theologician from Prague, Kingdom of Bohemia, in his time.

His work “Paradoxien des Unendlichen (1851; published posthumously)” was one of the first attempts to formalize infinity in mathematics and anticipated Cantor theory of sets. He also put foundation of mathematical analysis by formalizing previously known ideas on inifinitesimal quantities and generalizing concept of real function “Functionenlehre”. He constructed the first known example of continuous and nowhere differentiable function “On Bolzano's function (by Vojtěch Jarník)” and was probably the first mathematician that proved the intermediate value theorem “Rein analytischer Beweis des Lehrsatzes daß zwischen je zwey Werthen, die ein entgegengesetzetes Resultat gewähren, wenigstens eine reelle Wurzel der Gleichung liege (1817)”.

For more information about his life, mathematical research and theological teachings, see entry Bernard Bolzano on Wikipedia.

Digital Czech Mathematics Library recently made available collection of works of Bernard Bolzano and related items under the name “Bolzano Collection”.