The correspondence of the twenties continued the post-war trend. In 1920 the first written intuitionistic discussion between Brouwer and Weyl took place; later followed by the offer of a position in Amsterdam to Weyl. At the same time Brouwer entrenched himself in the opposition the Conseil International de Recherches. There were two memorable clashes: the matter of admitting French authors to the Riemann memorial volume of the Annalen (1925), and the international mathematics conference in Bologna (1928). In both cases Brouwer played a key role. In particular the latter one generated a mass of heated correspondence.

In 1923 Brouwer returned temporarily to topology when Urysohn appeared on the scene. Urysohn’s work on dimension theory touched on Brouwer’s 1913 dimension definition, and almost simultaneously Menger entered the field. From 1923 there was a stream of letters from and to Urysohn, Alexandrov and Menger, which terminated in 1929 with a conflict with the last mentioned.

In the wake of the Bologna controversy, Hilbert decided that Brouwer was a danger to the future of the Mathematische Annalen; he decreed the dismissal of Brouwer from the board. This was triggered an unpleasant conflict in the board – “The war of the frogs and the mice” in Einstein’s words. The conflict generated a flood of correspondence.


Editorial Board Axiom System Royal Academy Dimension Concept Editorial Activity 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk van Dalen
    • 1
  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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