In Foreign Lands: The Migration of Scientists for Political or Economic Reasons
Euler in St. Petersburg and in Berlin
Leonhard Euler spent nearly his whole scientific life outside Switzerland. In 1727 he went to St. Petersburg where he occupied his first paid scientific position and became after a while mathematics professor at the recently founded Russian Academy of Sciences. In 1741 he accepted the invitation of the Prussian king Frederick II to come to Berlin in order to become the director of the mathematical class of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, but remained an active member of the Russian academy. In Berlin Euler wrote or published most of his great textbooks. It was his most fruitful period of his life though he was responsible for many non-mathematical tasks. His sojourn in Berlin was impaired by Frederick’s three wars, especially by the Seven Years’ War. Euler’s estate outside Berlin was plundered. He translated Russian secret dispatches for the Prussian authorities. In 1765 he left Berlin in order to return to St. Petersburg where he was heartily welcome and died in 1783. The lecture will focus on the Berlin period and on less known aspects of Euler’s activities in that city.
Maria Teresa Borgato
J.-L. Lagrange’s mathematical life in Berlin and Paris
Lagrange’s life was marked by three distinct periods in three European capitals: Turin, Berlin and Paris. Lagrange left Turin, his homeland due to the lack of prospects for an adequate scientific career. Still very young, he had been appointed assistant of mathematics at the Military School of Artillery, but his modest earnings of ten years earlier had not changed. In the meantime, he had become a mathematician of international fame, a correspondent of Euler and D’Alembert. In Turin, together with Cigna and Saluzzo, he had founded the scientific society that would become the Academy of Sciences of Turin, as well as starting publication of the journal (Miscellanea Taurinensia) that collected, among other valid contributions, his first works on the vibrating string and the maxima and minima. His texts for teaching at military school, of “sublime analysis” and mechanics, were underestimated and later replaced by other less innovative ones.
As is known, his dissatisfaction came to the notice of D’Alembert who promoted his transfer to Berlin for the place vacated by Euler, who had returned to St. Petersburg. In Berlin Lagrange could devote himself exclusively to research, as director of the mathematics class of the Academy of Sciences, and, in fact, the Berlin period was the most prolific of his scientific production. At that time, Lagrange’s attitude towards the political authorities was one of prudent reserve, and his life itself was isolated from worldly events, as can be seen from a letter to a friend of Turin in which he explained, with a certain disenchantment, his philosophy of life. However, Lagrange did not completely estrange himself from social commitment, and he came into conflict with some Prussian ministers, with von der Schulenburg in particular, when he publicly predicted the bankruptcy of the Prussian Insurance Institute for widows’ pensions.
Lagrange never published the results of his research on life annuities, and also another work, on the pensions to orphans up to the majority age, saw the light only seventeen years later, when Lagrange had already moved to Paris. With the death of Frederick II of Prussia, the conditions of wide independence, for the Academy and for Lagrange himself, came to an end, and he accepted the invitation of count Mirabeau to join the Academy of Science in Paris. With the end of his stay in Berlin, a new period opened for Lagrange, who was to witness the upheavals of the French Revolution and the glories of the Napoleonic Empire.
Les frères Delisle en Russie, ou les Victimes de l’historiographie et du scorbut
La communication synthétise les résultats de deux recherches croisées, l’une portant sur la place de l’exploration du Pacifique dans le processus de modernisation de la Russie au XVIIIe siècle, l’autre centrée sur l’analyse du rôle ambivalent et controversé attribué dans cette histoire à l’astronome français Joseph Nicolas Delisle et à son frère, savant voyageur Louis Delisle de la Croyère, qui exerçaient au service de la Couronne russe dans les années 1720-1740.
Pour mettre l’étude en contexte, nous allons d’abord brièvement présenter les premières initiatives des autorités impériales russes en matière d’exploration des ressources naturelles du la région nord de l’océan Pacifique au début du XVIIIe siècle, et en particulier la première expédition de Vitus Bering (1725-1730) au Kamtchatka qui eut pour mission de clarifier les cartes de la côte nord du Pacifique et surtout, de répondre à la question cruciale qui fascinait les souverains russes, à savoir « si l’Asie se rencontrait avec l’Amérique ».
Les navires de l’expédition ont passé par le (futur) détroit de Béring et collecté une masse de matériaux précieux mais plusieurs questions, y compris celle de « la rencontre » des deux continents, sont restées en plan. La mission d’y répondre a été confiée à la deuxième expédition du Kamchatka (également connue sous le nom de « Grande expédition du Nord ») qui a travaillé sur le terrain pendant une décennie, entre 1733 à 1743. Cette étude grandiose des ressources naturelles de la Sibérie et de la partie nord du Pacifique a donné lieu, outre la détermination astronomique des points géographiques et l’établissement des contours de la côte, à de nombreuses découvertes géographiques : les îles du Commandeur ont été découvertes, l’arête des Kouriles explorée, le Kamchatka décrit. Notre étude portera cependant sur l’un des aspects les plus controversés de cette histoire à la fois glorieuse et tragique – le caractère erroné des cartes préparées pour la deuxième expédition du Kamchatka par le célèbre astronome Joseph Nicolas Delisle et leur incidence sur de nombreuses pertes humaines qui ont assombri l’issu de l’expédition.
La première de ces cartes indiquait les îles situées près du Kamchatka, au nord du Japon, tandis que la seconde décrivait la position géographique de l’Amérique et du Kamchatka telle que l’imaginait Delisle avant l’expédition. Les deux cartes étaient effectivement erronées et les îles représentées n’existent pas en réalité. De nombreux membres de l’expédition sont décédés pendant le périple périlleux entrepris à la recherche de ces terres mythiques, notamment le frère de l’astronome, Louis Delisle de la Croyre (mort du scorbut), et Vitus Bering lui-même. Cette tragédie a longtemps été utilisée dans la littérature historique pour représenter les frères Delisle en tant qu’espions, ignorants et saboteurs désireux d’entraver les activités russes dans le Pacifique. Il nous parait toutefois qu’on ne peut pas réduire cette histoire à un seul versant politique relevant de la tension entre deux grandes puissances européennes. A notre sens, l’esprit du conflit est ailleurs, il tient plutôt d’une certaine vision du Pacifique perçu comme une aire surabondante et globalement amicale par quelques générations de voyageurs européens qui s’y étaient hasardés à partir du XVIe siècle et dont les cartes encore très imparfaites signalaient l’existence de nombreuses terres imaginaires. La deuxième expédition de Kamchatka a révélé et démontré le fait que l’océan était très différent des attentes initiales et de ce point de vue, la carte préparée par Delisle a donc servi de base pour reconsidérer toute la vision de l’océan Pacifique en tant que complexe environnemental.
A Corfiot Scientist in the Russian Empire: The case of Nikephoros Theotokis (1731-1800)
Nikephoros Theotokis was born in 1731 in Corfu , when the Ionian Islands were under Venetian rule. He started his studies with the distinguished and cultured priest , Ieremias Kavvadias. In 1748 he was ordained as a deacon , but as he was very young he couldn’t not served in church , so ,in 1749, he left Corfu and studied philosophy, rhetoric, mathematics and physics , firstly at the gymnasium of Padova , and later at the Academy of Bologna. In his book, Elements of Physics ( Leipzig 1766), he mentioned that G.Poleni (1683-1761) and E.Zanotti (1729-1782) were among his professors.
Returning to Corfu in 1752 he was ordained as a priest , but since, at that time , most young people were uneducated , he devoted himself to providing education for his compatriots at no charge . He, therefore, founded a school in his family house. His fame as an educator spread , so the governor of Vlachia invited him to teach for some time at the Iasi Academy (Moldavia ). However , his destiny was to be formed in Russia. The Archbishop of Slaviansk and Kherson, Evgenios Voulgaris, invited him to Russia because he considered that his compatriot constituted the ideal person to serve this region , on the North shore of the Black Sea. After Voulgaris’ resignation in 1799 , Theotokis replaced him and later he became the Archbishop of Astrakhan and Stavropol. Among his ecclesiastical activities and theological writings was the Elements of Mathematics in 3 volumes ( the first in 1798, the 2nd and 3rd in 1799) edited in Greek in Moscow , thanks to the financial support of Zosimas brothers. In the third volume , he presents the elements of differential and integral calculus using Newtonian and Leibnizian terminology . The Influence of his Italian studies remains present in this volume as he mentions the Instituzioni Analitiche (1748) of Maria Gaetana Agnesi.
R.G. Boscovich from Rome to Paris through Pavia
In seventeenth century Italy, one of the first scientists who followed Newtonians ideas, and also introduced some elements of originality, was R.G. Boscovich (1711-1787). Newton’s influence on Bscovich shows up not only in the field of natural philosophy, but also in geometry, in the development of conic sections, where Boscovich prefers the synthetic method of the ancients, as opposed to the analytical one of the moderns. The figure of Boscovich will be investigated by following his migrations from the “Collegio Romano”, to Pavia University and the Department of Optics of the French Navy, as well as his travels, in particular to London, with the aim to show the influence of his scientific personality on the cultural environments he came into contact with.
In seventeenth century Italy, one of the first scientists who followed Newtonians ideas, and also introduced some elements of originality, was R.G. Boscovich (1711-1787). Newton’s influence on Bscovich shows up not only in the field of natural philosophy, but also in geometry, in the development of conic sections, where Boscovich prefers the synthetic method of the ancients, as opposed to the analytical one of the moderns. The figure of Boscovich will be investigated by following his migrations from Rome, where he taught mathematics at the Collegio Romano, to Pavia as professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University and finally to Paris as Directeur de l’Optique de la Marine, with the aim to show the influence of his scientific personality on the cultural environments he came into contact with.
Maria Giulia Lugaresi
Boscovich and the matter about the Mediterranean harbors
The Jesuit Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich (1711-1787), born in the Dalmatian city of Ragusa, was the son of a Serbian merchant, while his mother came from the Italian city of Bergamo. He completed his studies and worked outside his native land. Boscovich was professor of Mathematics in the Roman College from 1741 to 1760. He wrote many important papers on geometry, physics, optics and astronomy. From 1742 he complemented the educational activity with a great number of consultations on applied mathematics, firstly on behalf of the Papal State, and then on behalf of the principle Italian courts. In his first public office, Boscovich was required to give his opinion on the stability of St. Peter’s dome in Rome. Many papers on applied mathematics, especially hydraulics, followed this first consultation on an architectural work.
Boscovich’s works on the science of waters occupied a significant part in his scientific production. He wrote reports on the regulation of some rivers and streams, and the reclamation of extensive marshlands. His main contributions concerned the settlement of Italian harbours placed at the river mouth. The long journey (1750-52) made by Boscovich in order to measure the meridian arc between Rome and Rimini, gave him the opportunity to visit some important harbours on the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic Sea. Boscovich’s hydraulic reports were so appreciated that many Italian courts approached him for consultations, for example on the harbour of Viareggio on behalf of the Republic of Lucca (1756), the harbour of Rimini by the Papal State, the harbour of Savona by the Republic of Genoa (1771), the mouth of the river Adige by the Republic of Venice (1773).
Soon after the Jesuit suppression, Boscovich left Italy in 1773 and accepted a prestigious assignment in Paris as director of naval optics in the French Navy. In this role he devoted himself to studying the achromatic telescope and its application. Boscovich left France in 1782 and returned to Italy in order to attend the publication of his work on optics and astronomy (Opera pertinentia ad opticam et astronomiam, 1785).
The works on hydraulics have recently been collected and published in the National Edition of Boscovich’s works and correspondence (Opere varie di idraulica, ed. M. G. Lugaresi).
Augustin Betancourt entre l’Espagne et la Russie : les pérégrinations européennes d’un expert technique savant des Lumières (fin du XVIIIe – début du XIXe siècle)
Augustin Betancourt (1758-1824) a vécu à l’époque de transition qui, en matière d’ingénierie, a vu l’ingénieur polyvalent des Lumières, artiste et praticien, homme de terrain et de chantier, céder progressivement le pas à l’expert technique « nouvelle formule », spécialiste hautement qualifié issu d’un établissement spécialisé et féru en théories mathématiques. Dans ce monde professionnel en mutation, au milieu d’une Europe agitée par les cataclysmes politiques et militaires des années 1780-1810, le parcours de cet homme apparaît à la fois typique et singulier. Typique, parce qu’il s’inscrit dans le mouvement de formation et de mobilité des experts techniques envoyés dans les divers centres d’excellence technique européens par les pays en nécessité, dans le cadre des stratégies de modernisation accélérée (en cours notamment en Espagne et en Russie). Singulière parce qu’à force des circonstances (politiques, économiques, familiales) mais aussi à force de son caractère propre, ce Canarien de souche noble promu à une belle carrière dans son pays d’origine (l’Espagne), a transgressé le cadre strictement national pour endosser le rôle de médiateur dans le processus de circulation des savoirs qui s’est enclenché alors à l’échelle de l’Europe. On le trouve en effet à l’œuvre dans la construction d’une nouvelle identité de l’ingénieur fondée sur la somme de compétences spécifiques dispensées dans un cadre hautement institutionnalisé et mises au service du bien public : il dirige les groupes d’experts, fonde des écoles d’ingénieurs et des corps techniques, organise et pilote l’enseignement et la recherche dans les divers domaines de l’art de l’ingénieur, se pose à l’origine des nouvelles disciplines et écoles scientifiques … Ceci dit, ce même homme affiche aussi le goût invétéré pour l’invention et pour l’entreprise libre, et sa curiosité de mécanicien peut aller jusqu’à ignorer les interdits – l’espionnage technique serait l’un des domaines d’excellence de ses jeunes années. Rares sont les domaines des techniques qu’il n’a pas tenté d’investir : textile et métallurgie, extraction minière et chimie des colorants, aérostation et frappe de la monnaie, dragage des courants d’eau et techniques de la vapeur, horlogerie et instruments de mesure, télégraphie optique et art mécanique, hydraulique et travaux publics. Trop versatile pour en marquer définitivement un seul, Betancourt a su finalement en tirer profit de la somme de ces expériences dans l’intérêt de beaucoup d’autres, car ses élèves et ses continuateurs à travers l’Europe sont difficiles à dénombrer. Autant additionner toutes les promotions de l’Escuela de caminos y canales à Madrid ou de l’Institut du Corps des ingénieurs des voies de communication à Saint-Pétersbourg qui, à ce jour, revendiquent cet héritage… Bref, l’homme était à l’image de son temps mais aussi, synthétiquement, à l’image des expériences que selon son goût et les conjonctures extérieures, il a fait siennes. Sa mobilité était à la hauteur de ses nombreux intérêts : il a passé la moitié de sa vie en route. Quatre grandes capitales européennes l’ont accueilli aux divers moments de sa vie : Madrid, Paris, Londres et Saint-Pétersbourg. Chacune à sa façon, elles ont aiguillé, structuré, forgé et affiné son professionnalisme, et en détailler l’apport spécifique dans la culture technique de Betancourt fera parti de nos préalables. Disons d’emblée que cet apport aura une signification différente selon qu’il s’agira de l’axe « Paris – Londres », centrale pour la formation et l’essor professionnel de Betancourt, ou de l’axe « Madrid – Saint-Pétersbourg », essentielle pour comprendre la diversité des pratiques d’appropriation et d’acculturation des expériences acquises. C’est justement ce second aspect, dans ses applications effectives, d’abord en Espagne ensuite – et surtout – en Russie qui va nous intéresser dans la deuxième partie de l’exposé. Les notions de la mobilité, de réseau et l’expertise, dans leur complexité polysémique, interviennent pleinement dans l’œuvre médiatrice de cet ingénieur, même si lui même raisonne encore en termes différents. Il y fait systématiquement recours pour ses propres travaux en privilégiant à chaque fois des instances qu’il juge les mieux appropriés à l’occasion. Il agit lui-même en expert – à titre officiel lorsqu’il y est appelé par ses fonctions ou à titre officieux lorsqu’il l’estime nécessaire ou lorsqu’il est sollicité par les collègues. Il sert aussi d’intermédiaire entre les individus ou les entreprises et les instances de référence et de décision (académies, administrations, gouvernements). Enfin, il crée lui-même des instances de référence originales, des hauts lieux d’expertise professionnelle qui s’imposent en toute autorité. Deux organismes d’expertise professionnelle uniques dans leur genre – le Comité hydraulique et la Commission des projets et des devis à Saint-Pétersbourg – qui couronnent son œuvre en Russie incarnent pleinement cette approche d’expert issue de la synthèse de ses expériences européennes en matière d’art et de sciences de l’ingénieur. En revanche, son échec personnel au service de la Couronne russe, comme plus tôt en Espagne, témoigne de la limite que le pouvoir, la politique, l’intrigue et le dépaysement peuvent poser à la compétence.
Friends of France: Italian Mathematicians in Exile between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
In the second half of the eighteenth century, most Italian scientists looked with admiration to the France of the Encyclopédie and the Académie des sciences. When the echoes of the French Revolution were felt very quickly even in Italy, only some scholars, the younger ones in general, tried to follow its examples. The most notable case occurred in Naples, where Annibale Giordano and Carlo Lauberg, authors of an innovative volume (Principi analitici delle matematiche, Naples 1792) founded a Jacobin club (1794). Hit by Bourbon repression, Lauberg left for exile, and Giordano was imprisoned. In 1799, General Championnet freed Giordano from his prison in L’Aquila and placed Lauberg at the head of the Neapolitan Republic. When in 1796 the Italian army of General Bonaparte defeated the former coalition states, many scientists joined the new governments and, with the Austro-Russian restoration of 1798, had to find refuge in France: among these three already established mathematicians (Lorenzo Mascheroni, Giambattista Venturi and Vincenzo Brunacci) and a very young Giovanni Plana, who had planted the tree of liberty in Voghera. Plana remained in France and became friends with Stendhal. After Napoleon’s victory in Marengo even those who opposed the French, like Paolo Ruffini in Modena, were left in their posts and nobody had to emigrate. With the Restoration (1815), on the contrary, the constitutional governments were abolished, universities and armies were downsized. Several young scientists found themselves without a place, among them Agostino Codazzi, who took refuge in Venezuela, and was the first modern cartographer in Latin America. The heavy police regime of the Italian states pushed several young men to conspiracy and exile. These include Ottaviano Fabrizio Mossotti and Guglielmo Libri. The experiences of exile were for many like a school of science and freedom, the benefits of which they felt when they could return to Italy, which was finally unified (1861).
Ana Cardoso de Matos
La mobilité des experts dans le monde et la diffusion des connaissances scientifiques sur les barrages : les cas d’André Coyne (1891-1960) et d’Alfred Stucky (1892-1969) au Portugal
La construction des œuvres d’ingénierie nécessaires au développement de l’économie des différents pays a été une des principales raisons de la mobilité des ingénieurs, parfois liées aux investissements faits par certaines entreprises dans d’autres pays. A partir du XXe siècle, l’électricité est devenue un moteur important du développement économique et dès la fin de la Première guerre mondiale, surtout dans les pays avec de faibles ressources en charbon, l’intérêt pour l’hydroélectricité s’est accru de manière exponentielle. Cet intérêt grandit encore à la deuxième moitié du siècle qui voit s’amplifier la construction de grands barrages permettant de produire des grandes quantités d’électricité.
La construction de ces barrages, qui exige des compétences très spécifiques en ingénierie stimule et intensifie la grande mobilité d’ingénieurs entre les différents pays. Parmi les ingénieurs étrangers venus au Portugal, deux se distinguent : l’ingénieur français André Coyne (1891-1960) et l’ingénieur suisse Alfred Stucky (1892-1969). Le premier a construit plus de 70 barrages dans 14 pays différents. Au Portugal, il a projeté et dirigé la construction des barrages de Castelo de Bode, Santa Luzia, Venda Nova et Salamondre. En 1947, assisté d’un jeune ingénieur, Jean Bellier (1905-1986), André Coyne crée le Bureau d’études portant leur deux noms (A.C.J.B.). C’est ce bureau qui en 1953 a construit au Portugal la première centrale hydroélectrique souterraine, la centrale de Salamonde qui est située au nord du pays. L’ingénieur Alfred Stuckya a été un des pionniers de la théorie du barrage à double courbure et, en 1926, il a fondé le Stucky Consulting Engineers. L’intervention de Stucky au Portugal est liée aux barrages de Guilhofei, Pracana et Belver.
Notre présentation analyse les cas de l’intervention de ces deux ingénieurs au Portugal comme un exemple de la mobilité des « experts » qui diligente des compétences scientifiques et techniques au niveau théorique et pratique.
Laurent Mazliak and Thomas Perfettini
So far and yet so close. The exile of Russian mathematicians in Paris in the 1920s
In the present talk, we shall focus on the presence of mathematicians emigrated from the former Russian empire in Paris in the 1920s. Though they were not very numerous, they constitute an interesting group to follow, as this allows to raise the question of the adaptation of mathematicians transplanted in the context of a foreign culture, and to understand which specificities of the discipline may have facilitated (or not) their situation. The pre-revolutionary contacts between the French and the Russian mathematical milieu — especially between Moscow mathematicians (Egorov, Luzin…) and Paris mathematicians (Borel, Lebesgue…) — certainly played a role. After presenting general aspects of the group, we shall study some particular cases illustrating how the (relative) success of an emigration process always requires a specific skill and flexibility from an individual tossed between various collectives.
Roads of Russian zoologists-emigrants
The fates of zoologists who left Russia after 1917 are discussed. Their stories varied greatly and many of them managed to remain in the profession and even make a significant contribution to the scientific community already working in the West. Waves of post-revolutionary emigration spread throughout the world. First of all, scientists sought to live in countries where there would have an opportunity to continue their studies in science, including Europe – France, Germany, the Balkans, Czechoslovakia, England and the USA. Among the heroes of our presentation there are just young scientists who were about 20-30 years old at the time of the revolution, and already well-known zoologists – as well as doctors of science and professors around 40-50 years old. The study of the biographies of 13 Russian zoologists-immigrants allows us to select several typical options for their fate abroad. 1. Successful integration thanks to the scientific name already created in the Russian period. 2. Creation of a significant scientific name from zero only after emigration. 3. Existence in the western scientific community, but without the possibility of a significant career. 4. Change of profession due to the inability to apply their zoological knowledge in the current circumstances of emigration. Of course, there were intermediate variants of fates too. Not everyone was able to have a career as scientists in the West, but in Soviet Russia most of them would not have had a physical future. Russia lost them, but the world bought them.
Aldo Mieli (1879-1950) and the origin of the history of science in Spain. From the set up to the dissolution of the Spanish Group
Soon after its creation, the International Academy of History of Science promoted national groups gathering its members in each country with other scholars. The Spanish Group was set up in 1930 including some outstanding Arabists, such as Julià Ribera Tarragó (1858-1934), founding member of the Academy, and independent scholars such as Antoni Quintana Marí (1907-1998) and Francisco Vera Fernández de Córdoba (1888-1967). As it is known, the III Congress was forecast to be held in Berlin in 1933. After Hitler and the Nazis took the power in January of this year, Mieli, permanent secretary of the Academy, decided to move it to another country. He had met several times his Spanish colleagues and he asked them to organise the Congress. At that time, Spain had become a Republic in which the democrats from around the worldtrusted as a possible alternative to fascism. Nevertheless, the organisation of the congress revealed strong differences among the Spanish scholars, some of whom would not accept the orientations of the Academy. This lead to the dissolution of the Spanish Group and the organisation of the III Congress in Portugal in 1934. We would like to analyse the terms of the controversy among the different actors involved. The debate should be analysed in terms of the different conceptions of historiography of science but also in some political elements related to the structure of the new Spanish Republic. This episode is relevant for the historiography of science not only in Spain but it should give light on the early steps of the discipline in the world.
Mathematicians and their escape from Nazi Germany and Europe (1933-1939/45)
Shortly after the beginning of the Nazi regime in Germany a great wave of emigration committed. Scholars and scientists, physicians, engineers, mathematicians were displaced from their positions in schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and research institutions. All were forced to leave and had to go into exile. Among the “Displaced German Scholars”, as they were labelled in the booklet published in 1936 by the AAC (Academic Assistance Council) in London, were left-wing intellectuals as well as conservative scientists. They had to adapt to a new culture and to integrate themselves in a new science and education system. All tried to transfer their knowledge and capacity to the new country under these different conditions. From 1939 on they had to emigrate again from all European countries under Nazi occupation and together with colleagues from these countries who were persecuted by the Nazis too.
Based on my research about displaced scientists – female and male – from Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes (Vogt (2007, 2008)) and mathematicians in exile (Vogt (2009, 2012)), first I’ll describe the situation of success or failure in exile, what does success mean and why the adaptation and integration could fail. Second, I’m discussing five conditions – apart from the language problem – which were necessary to be able to continue the scientific work under new labour conditions, in new institutions with different rules, styles and traditions. Very often emigrées had to change their research field or scientific interests to be able to adapt to the new conditions. Third, I’ll illustrate these five conditions for the continuation of scientific work in new countries by giving examples of emigrated mathematicians who escaped to UK, Soviet Union, France, the Netherlands, to Palestine and the USA.
Czechoslovakia – a good place to live in? (immigration and emigration from the point of view of mathematicians)
Based on the study of surviving archive sources available in the Czech Republic and abroad and diverse secondary literature we will introduce three typical kinds of the emigration from Bohemia (1880s), resp. Czechoslovakia (1910s/1920s and 1930s) and two typical kinds of the immigration to Czechoslovakia (1920s and 1930s) from the point of view of mathematicians and their communities living in Bohemia, resp. Czechoslovakia. We will describe the most important reasons for the decisions to immigrate or emigrate, we will compare these five migration waves and we will try to analyse their influences and impacts on the development of international as well as our national mathematical community, teaching activities and research.
In the second half of the 19th century, Bohemia became the industrial backbone and one of the cultural and scientific centres of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In this time, due to the rise of nationalistic movements, the Czech and German communities which naturally existed in Bohemia for some centuries separated. In the 1870s and 1880s, the number of mathematicians and teachers of mathematics rapidly increased. There were many especially Czech candidates of teaching mathematics at secondary and technical schools and universities who were without regular position and income. It is not surprising that some of them went abroad, especially to the Balkans, i.e. to the lands which started to build their own national states, culture, science, educational and health systems as well as scientific and cultural societies. Czech mathematicians quickly obtained good regular positions there and they started to play the important role in the development of “national” mathematics, mathematical education and mathematical associations. They learned the foreign languages, began to create curricula for the teaching and the first methodological manuals, translated Czech textbooks to other languages, wrote new textbooks and so contributed to the creation of the terminology, educated the first generations of students and led local mathematical communities to the unification of professional associations.
During the WWI, Bohemia was out of the area of the first-hand war battlefields. Only few Czech and German mathematicians and professors of mathematics but many young students of mathematics had to interrupt their careers or studies and had to go to the battlefields. On the 28th October 1918, the independent Czechoslovak Republic was founded and it became the democratic republic in the centre of Europe connected together Czechs, Germans, Slovaks, Ukrainians and others habitants. After its creation, Czech high and secondary schools, scientific and cultural communities and professional associations rapidly developed, but German ones were not abolished. Both communities were respected, oppressed and financially suppressed by the state. After the October Revolution in Russia, many Russian well educated and wealthy immigrants came to Czechoslovakia and started to live, work and study there. They became soon regular Czechoslovak citizens and some of them obtained their new positions at the Czech universities and secondary schools as assistants, teachers or researchers etc.
But soon after the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic, some German-speaking mathematicians decided not to live and not work in the country where German population will be the respected minority but only minority and the Czechoslovak language will be so called state language. They moved to Austria and Germany where they obtained the good positions at the universities or ministries or continued in their studies.
Czechoslovak Republic also attracted foreign German-speaking students because there were low school fees and costs of living, good transport possibilities, democratic and multicultural atmosphere, religious and racial toleration and many famous professors. The very important role was also played by the fact that there was no “numerus clausus” for Jewish students and poor students. Until 1939, Czech and German mathematical communities in Czechoslovakia were not directly affected by national and religious problems resulting from increasing strength of fascism or domestic conflicts between liberal and social democratic groups and national and anti-Semitic groups. People of various nationalities (citizens of Czechoslovak Republic, Austrians and Germans, other European citizens), people of different religion (Catholics, Protestants, Jews and people without religion), people of various political affiliation (democrats, communists, Sudeten German Party members, Zionists and people with no interest in politics), people of varied social background and with different relation to Czechoslovakia actively and effectively collaborated with one another. For them, the most important thing was their love for mathematics, mathematical studies, results and achievements, which fascinated, filled and associated them much more than other matters could divide them.
In the 1930s, mathematicians in Czechoslovakia tried to help colleagues in every way who had to abandon their positions in Germany and Austria. They admitted students who had not been able to finish their studies properly in their homelands. Czechoslovak universities were open with regard to basic and undergraduate studies of foreign students but they were very conservative with regard to recognition of the diplomas from foreign universities and with regard to preparation extraordinary or ordinary teaching positions for immigrants. Therefore many of them approached Czechoslovakia only as a temporary transfer station within the journey to better positions in USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Asia or South America.
At the end of the summer of the year 1938, the escalation of conflicts between certain German professors and Czechoslovak government exploded. Some German specialists and professors left Prague and went to the centres of Nazis as for example Vienna and Münich. At the end of 1938 and at the beginning of 1939 (before the German Nazis came to Prague) Jewish professors, private docents, assistants and students as well as democratically thinking or left oriented people were dismissed from their positions and lost their rights to teach and to do research, or to study. After the March 1939, some of mathematicians emigrated abroad and saved their lives and families. During the WWII some of Jewish mathematicians were murdered by Nazis in concentration camps or ghettos, other Jewish or democratically thinking mathematicians were imprisoned in concentration camps, ghettos or prisons and survived five difficult years or had to work in the special “work camps”. Other large waves of emigration that afflicted Czechoslovakia came in 1945, 1948 and 1968.
Jewish intellectual diaspora and the circulation of mathematics: Alessandro Terracini in Argentina (1939-1948)
The racial laws of 1938, which determined for Italian Jews the loss of civil and political rights, and the complete banishment from scientific and academic arenas, deeply impacted Italian mathematics, which suddenly lost outstanding figures like Levi-Civita, Volterra, Castelnuovo, Enriques and many others. Their dismissal triggered a series of institutional, epistemic and social changes in culture and scholarship, whose dynamics can be read in two perspectives: the global one, which views scientific change as a ‘re-organization of resource ensembles’, trying to move beyond the classic discourse of cultural loss and gain, and the individual perspective, that of personal and professional destinies. With regard to this second perspective, we have to deal with a large and nuanced spectrum of experiences of purged mathematicians who decided to emigrate in Great Britain (B. Segre), Switzerland (G. Fano, B. Colombo), US (G. Fubini) and South America (B. Levi, A. Terracini, G. Mortara) looking for a space of intellectual survival.
For Alessandro Terracini, the forced migration to Argentina, begun as an exile mourning the loss of his roots and national identity, turned into a true professional breakthrough, ‘the stage of his life as organiser and sower of ideas in a land that was virgin, but eager to produce’. In particular, through his teaching and his lectures he promoted the work and the styles of the Schools of Segre and Peano to which he felt he belonged, and transplanted the best of Italian traditions of thought in higher geometry, logic and foundations into a new milieu, leading to intriguing scenarios of cultural cross-fertilisation and circulation of knowledge. Moreover, aware that the level of scientific studies in Argentina could not be improved without adequate research facilities, Terracini launched a new editorial venture: the Revista de matematica y fisica teorica, which was founded in December 1940 in Tucumán. The editorial policy of the journal, which hosted important contributions by Einstein, Cartan, Erdös, Levi-Civita, Fubini, and many others, the contacts with collaborators, even the correction of drafts, were entirely shouldered by Terracini.
In this talk, after providing an overview on the phenomenon of Jewish mathematical diaspora from fascist Italy after 1938, we will focus on the biographical and professional experience of Terracini, who succeeded in reconstructing his life and scientific career in Argentina, where he left a substantial and long-term legacy on a entire generation of young mathematicians (Luis Santalò, Félix Herrera, Mischa Cotlar, …).
Ash M. (2008). Forced Migration and Scientiﬁc Change After 1933. Steps Toward a New Approach (p. 161-178). In R. Scazzieri & R. Simili (Eds.), The Migration of Ideas, USA, Science History Pubblications.
Israel Giorgio & Nastasi Pietro (1998). Scienza e razza nell’Italia fascista. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Luciano E. (2018). From Emancipation to Persecution: Aspects and Moments of the Jewish Mathematical Milieu in Turin (1848-1938), Bollettino di Storia delle Scienze Matematiche, XXXVIII, 1, 2018, pp. 127-166.
One-way circulation from Nazi Europe to free countries: Jean Piaget help to Jewish female psychologists during WWII
My paper examines the ways in which Piaget – and, more generally, the members of the Rousseau Institute for the Sciences of Education in Geneva [IJJR] – helped Jewish scientists and refugees from the 1930s through Second World War period. The IJJR had welcomed progressive students since its creation in 1912, and increased its recruitment in 1933 to accommodate Jewish refugees. The archives show that Jean Piaget was active in his support, especially of Jewish psychologists from Germany, Austria and the East countries. He helped them to remain in Geneva and to immigrate to other host countries. This support was manifested in various ways, including but not limited to, letters of recommendation, tuition waivers and subsidies for school fees, and exchanges through international aid organizations. Particularly he used his networks and influence through both official and informal channels getting in touch with academic, administrative, and governmental authorities at the Swiss cantonal and federal levels, and dealt with embassies of some countries. Through it all, cultivating an unwavering discretion, Piaget also followed a political strategy that consisted in preserving the Institute to serve as a rallying point for psychological research in the post-war period. I will follow the path of three female psychologists, Renate Kersten, Marianne Wohlgemuth and Kate Wolf, who respectively migrated, thanks to Piaget’s help, to the Dominican republic, to Brazil and to the US.
George N. Vlahakis
“Physical chemistry in Greece before and after World War II as a case study for the role of politics on science and scientists”
This paper presents two parallel stories concerning the community of physical chemistry in Greece just before and after the World War II.
The first story is about Georgios Karagounis, the founding father of physical chemistry in Greece who left Greece in 1948. Karakounis had studied in Germany and before the war was very active in the University of Athens where he became Professor at the age of 27. After the war, disappointed by the prevailed situation in Greece decided to leave the University of Athens and he got a position at the University of Zurich and later he became professor at the University of Freiburg.
The second story is about Georg-Maria Schwab, a renowned professor of physical chemistry in Munich before the war. Because of his Jew origin he was forced to leave Germany and to come to Greece to avoid further implications by the Nazi regime. In Greece he married Elli Agalidou, the first woman physical chemist in Greece and he worked in the industry. During the war and after it he faced several problems because he was German. Then he elected professor at the Technical University of Athens but finally he decided to return to Germany with his family, where he continued his academic career.
These two stories are two case studies, among many others, about the political and ideological reasons which forced scientists to leave their countries and to migrate to more secure and fruitful environments.