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Robert A. Van Wesep


As the name suggests, this site is devoted to things mainly mathematical, but I have taken the liberty of placing here anything I think might be of interest to visitors who share one or more of my idiosyncrasies.


The principal purpose of the site at present is to make available a book on the foundations of mathematics, on which I have been working for several years, and which is now nearly finished. This is a subject that engages the imagination of many people inside and outside the community of mathematicians, but its unique methodology and point of view have historically meant that to fully grasp its meaning has required a dedication usually found only in those who intend to make it their professional business. My book makes the subject accessible to a larger public without compromising mathematical rigor and completeness. It is entirely self-contained and requires no prior knowledge of the field. In fact, it requires no specific knowledge of mathematics at all; however, it does presume a certain level of mathematical maturity.

One of the outgrowths of this project is a modest contribution to the theory itself that I have published as a separate article. The relationship of the article to the book is such that it is highly desirable to be able to refer to the latter in the former. The immediate reason for posting the book online was to permit such a reference. Although the book is not quite finished, it is nonetheless eminently readable and provides a good background for appreciating some topics covered briefly, or merely mentioned, in the article.

The parenthetical "s" in "Book(s)" will not have escaped your keen observation. Foundations of Mathematics is actually just the first in a series of books, with the original title What's the Big Idea?: Fundamental Concepts in Mathematics and Science for the Dedicated Amateur, which grew out of my wish to explain fundamental concepts of physics in such a way as to be congenial to the mathematician in me. That grew into a substantial book about physics, which is quite far along but not yet ready for prime time. The imagined third volume, dealing with complex systems, including life, etc., is at present just that - imagined. Time will tell.


This is self-explanatory. I've only listed articles relevant to the theme of this website, with some notes placing them in context.


Some of which I am not embarrassed are included here.