Mathematicians of the 20th Century

With so many blogs being written by members of the literati, it’s not surprising that a widespread meme involves compiling lists of writers and books.  I’ve even succumbed to it myself.   Lists of mathematicians are not as common, so I thought I’d present a list of the 20th century greats.    Some of these are famous for a small number of contributions, or for work which is only narrow, while others have had impacts across many parts of mathematics.
Each major area of mathematics represented here (eg, category theory, computer science) could equally do with its own list, which perhaps I’ll manage in due course.  I’ve included David Hilbert, Felix Hausdorff and Bertrand Russell because their most influential works were published in the 20th century.  Although Hilbert reached adulthood in the 19th century, his address to the 1900 International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris greatly influenced the research agenda of mathematicians for much of the 20th century, and his 1899 axiomatization of geometry (following the lead of Mario Pieri) influenced the century’s main style of doing mathematics.   For most of the 20th century, mathematics was much more abstract and more general than it had been in the previous two centuries.    This abstract style perhaps reached its zenith in the work of Bourbaki, Grothendieck, Eilenberg and Mac Lane, while the mathematics of Thurston, for example, was a throwback to the particularist, even perhaps anti-abstract, style of 19th century mathematics.  And Perelman’s major contributions have been in this century, of course.

  • David Hilbert (1862-1943)
  • Felix Hausdorff (1868-1942)
  • Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
  • Henri Lebesgue (1875-1941)
  • Godfrey Hardy (1877-1947)
  • LEJ (“Bertus”) Brouwer (1881-1966)
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920)
  • Alonzo Church (1903-1995)
  • Andrei Kolmogorov (1903-1987)
  • John von Neumann (1903-1957)
  • Henri Cartan (1904-2008)
  • Kurt Gödel (1906-1978)
  • Saunders Mac Lane (1909-2005)
  • Leonid Kantorovich (1912-1986)
  • Alan Turing (1912-1954)
  • Samuel Eilenberg (1913-1998)
  • René Thom (1923-2002)
  • John Forbes Nash (1928-2015)
  • Alexander Grothendieck (1928-2014)
  • Michael Atiyah (1929- )
  • Steven Smale (1930- )
  • Paul Cohen (1934-2007)
  • Nicolas Bourbaki (1935- )
  • Sergei Novikov (1938- )
  • Stephen Cook (1939- )
  • William Thurston (1946-2012)
  • Edward Witten (1951- )
  • Andrew Wiles (1953- )
  • Richard Borcherds (1959- )
  • Grigori Perelman (1966- )
  • Vladimir Voevodsky (1966- )
  • Edward Frenkel (1968- )

And here’s my list of great mathematical ideas.

Composers concat

While making lists of artists whose work speaks to me, here’s my list of classical composers likewise.  Of course, I don’t necessarily like everything these composers wrote.

  • Johann Adam Reincken (1643-1722)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758)
  • Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
  • Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
  • Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
  • Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
  • Johann Hummel (1778-1837)
  • Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
  • Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)
  • Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847)
  • Juan Chrisostomo Arriaga (1806-1826)
  • Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
  • Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
  • William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875)
  • Neils Gade (1817-1890)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
  • Antoni Stolpe (1851-1872)
  • Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
  • Alfred Hill (1869-1960)
  • Colin McPhee (1900-1964)
  • Aram Khachaturian (1903–1978)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
  • John Cage (1912-1992)
  • Jim Penberthy (1917-1999)
  • Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
  • Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
  • Peter Sculthorpe  (1929-2014)
  • Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)
  • Richard Meale (1932-2009)
  • Terry Riley (1935- )
  • Steve Reich (1936- )
  • Philip Glass (1937- )
  • Louis Andriessen (1939- )
  • Michael Nyman (1944- )
  • Barry Conyngham (1944- )
  • John Adams (1947- )
  • Akira Nishimura (1953- )
  • Cecilie Ore (1954- )
  • Pascal Dusapin (1955- )
  • Andrew McGuiness
  • Christophe Bertrand (1981-2010).

The alert reader will notice the absence of Richard Wagner.   This is deliberate.

Artists concat

Here is a listing of visual artists whose work speaks to me.  Minimalists and geometric abstractionists are over-represented, relative to their population in the world.  In due course, I will add posts about each of them.

  • Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)
  • Shi Tao (1641-1720)
  • Jin Nong (1687-c.1763)
  • Richard Wilson (1714-1782)
  • Thomas Jones (1742-1803)
  • Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849)
  • Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840)
  • John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)
  • Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858)
  • Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
  • Richard Parkes Bonington (1802–1828)
  • Thomas Chambers (1808-1869)
  • Thomas Moran (1837-1926)
  • Arkhip Kuindzhi (1842-1910)
  • Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)
  • Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943)
  • Alma Thomas (1891-1978)
  • Stuart Davis (1892-1964)
  • Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (1893-1965)
  • László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)
  • Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979)
  • Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912–2004)
  • Agnes Martin (1912-2004)
  • Jackson Pollock (1912–1956)
  • Gunther Gerzso (1915-2000)
  • Michael Kidner (1917-2009)
  • Guanzhong Wu (1919–2010)
  • Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923- )
  • Fred Williams (1927-1982)
  • Donald Judd (1928-1994)
  • Sol LeWitt (1928-2007)
  • Henry Munyaradzi (1931-1998)
  • Bridget Riley (1931- )
  • Norval Morrisseau (1932–2007)
  • Dan Flavin (1933-1996)
  • Patrick Tjungurrayi (1935-2018)
  • Jean-Pierre Bertrand (1937- )
  • Peter Campus (1937- )
  • Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980)
  • Prince of Wales Midpul (c.1937-2002)
  • Peter Struycken (1939- )
  • Alighiero e Boetti (1940-1994)
  • Alice Nampitjinpa (1943- )
  • Helicopter Tjungurrayi (1947- )
  • Cildo Meireles (1948- )
  • Jeremy Annear (1949- )
  • Louise van Terheijden (1954- )
  • Doreen Reid Nakamarra (1955-2009)
  • Peter Doig (1959- )
  • Katie Allen
  • Els van ‘t Klooster (1985- )
  • Este MacLeod

Recent Reading 6

Hungarian torn flag 1956 in Budapest
The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books:

  • Patricia Anderson [2009]:  Robert Hughes:  The Australian Years. (Sydney, Australia:  Pandora Press.)  A fascinating account of Robert Hughes’ time in Australia before his permanent departure abroad in the middle 1960s, sadly undermined by very poor organization, poor writing, and sloppy editing.  Where was the editor when we learn of a 1958 play written by Hughes, in which the lead “roll” in 1959 is acted by an undergraduate John Bell (p.68)?  And where again when Major Harold Rubin, wounded in WW I,  is  “invalidated” from the army (p. 116)?  But the worst offence against the reader is the book’s poor organization.  Each chapter begins afresh, as if each was a separate attempt to dissect Hughes and his circle, sometimes ignoring what we’d read in earlier chapters, and sometimes assuming we’ve already read to the end the book (or we know what he did with his life afterwards).   A new viewpoint per chapter is not an intrinsically bad way to organize such material, but this attempt is poorly done, as if the writer or publisher had decided to skip the editing stage.   The book embodies a promising idea undermined by poor execution.
  • Rupert Sheldrake [2012]:  The Science Delusion:  Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry.  (London, UK:  Coronet.)  This is a superb book, from one of the great scientific thinkers of our age.   That Sheldrake is not so regarded by many other scientists is indicative of the closed-mindedness of contemporary science, much of it as dogmatic and un-sceptical as any religious cult.  The grand foundation of myth of western science is that every claim and assumption is open to contestation, and by anyone, but the actual practice of most modern science is profoundly opposite to such openness.   This book should be compulsory reading by every trainee, practising, and retired scientist.
  • Robert Holmes [2012]: A Spy Like No Other: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the KGB Links to the Kennedy Assassination. (UK: Biteback Publishing).  This book was most disappointing.  The author has no evidence for his claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was a KGB agent, not even circumstantial evidence.  His claim is based only the thinnest of speculation, about what some KGB people might have been doing talking with certain people they may have met at certain places they may have been visiting for certain purposes they may have had.   In addition, it is sad to report that someone could write a book about the Kennedy assassination without being familiar with much of the contested nature of the evidence on the ancillary events.   Thus, we know that someone calling himself Lee Harvey Oswald visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City shortly before JFK’s assassination.   We don’t know for certain that this person was the Lee Harvey Oswald arrested in Dallas for that assassination.  Without that certainty, the main evidence for Holmes’ claim falls away.
  • Vladislav Zubok [2011]:  Zhivago’s Children:  The Last Russian Intelligentsia. (Cambridge, MA, USA:  Harvard University Press).   This is a fascinating and well-written cultural history of the Soviet shestidesiatniki, the people of the 60s, and the generation just before them, the people who came of age in the late 1940s and 1950s.   My only very small criticism is that Zubok focuses primarily on the literati, with much less attention paid to the matherati.   But that is a very small quibble on what is a superb book.
  • Anne Applebaum [2012]: Iron Curtain:  The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56. (London, UK:  Allen Lane.)   This is a very fine and interesting book, although not about the subject of its subtitle.   A more accurate subtitle would have been The Crushing of East Germany, Hungary and Poland 1944-56.   The author appears not to have interviewed anybody in Czechoslovakia, for example, whose experiences of the imposition of communism and communist party rule were subtly different to those three countries.   Ending in 1956 means the author is not really able to provide a compelling explanation for Poland’s exceptional treatment by the Soviet imperium — why did Khrushchev give way in the Soviet confrontation with Gomulka in 1956, for instance?   But that is a small criticism of a fascinating book.
  • Charles Gati [2006]: Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. (Stanford, CA, USA:  Stanford University Press).  This is fine and careful account of the events leading up to and during the 1956 Hungarian revolution, by a someone who was present in Budapest at the time.  The book contains a thoughtful and well-argued political analysis of the alternatives open to each of the main actors during the crisis:  Imre Nagy and his supporters, his opponents, the Soviet leadership, and the American leadership.   It is clear from this analysis that the outcome could have been very different, creating in Hungary a socialism with a human face that would have been acceptable to and accepted by the Politburo of the Communist Party of the USSR.   However, such an outcome may never have been ever possible with these particular actors and their personalities.  I had not realized, for example, how poor a public speaker Nagy generally was, nor how usually indecisive.  It was also fascinating to read of the many public protests sympathetic to the Hungarian revolutionaries that took place in the USSR following the invasion of Hungary.

Two lists of books

In succession to this post which seems to have originated a meme, herewith two lists of novels – one list influential when younger, and the other later, with influence measured by strength of memory.  In each case, I include a couple of works of non-fiction, because of their superb writing.
The rules only allow listing of one book per author.   In fact, all the books of some writers would merit inclusion.  In this group, I would include Brautigan, Camus, Conrad, Faulkner, Gordimer, Ishiguro, H. James, Joyce, Maugham, Perec and Turgenev.
Influential when younger:

  • Albert Camus:  The Plague
  • JM Coetzee:  Waiting for the Barbarians
  • Joseph Conrad:  The Secret Agent
  • William Faulkner:  As I Lay Dying
  • Nadine Gordimer:  Burger’s Daughter
  • Joseph Heller:  Catch-22
  • Ruth Prawer Jhabvala:  Heat and Dust
  • James Joyce:  Ulysses
  • Franz Kafka:  The Trial
  • Arthur Koestler:  Darkness at Noon
  • William Least Heat-Moon:  Blue Highways:  A Journey into America
  • Doris Lessing:  The Diary of a Good Neighbour
  • Thomas Mann:  Dr Faustus
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez:  100 Years of Solitude
  • W. Somerset Maugham:  The Razor’s Edge
  • Herman Melville:  Moby Dick
  • Gerald Murnane:  Landscape with Landscape
  • Michael Ondaatje:  Coming Through Slaughter
  • Bertrand Russell:  The Autobiography
  • Jean-Paul Sartre:  Nausea
  • Mikhail Sholokhov:  And Quiet Flows the Don
  • Alice Walker:  The Color Purple
  • Patrick White:  Voss
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin:  We

Influential more recently:

  • Henry Adams:  The Education of Henry Adams
  • Richard Brautigan:  An Unfortunate Women:  A Journey
  • William Burroughs:  Naked Lunch
  • Italo Calvino:  If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
  • Robert Dessaix:  Corfu
  • Shusaku Endo: Silence
  • Mark Henshaw:  Out of the Line of Fire
  • Kazuo Ishiguro:  An Artist of the Floating World
  • Henry James:  The Princess Casamassima
  • Ryszard Kapuscinski: The Emperor:  Downfall of an Autocrat
  • Naguib Mahfouz:  The Journey of Ibn Fattouma
  • Norman Mailer:  Harlot’s Ghost
  • Alberto Moravia:  Boredom
  • Georges Perec:  Things:  A Story of the Sixties
  • Antonio Tabucchi:  Pereira Maintains
  • Henry David Thoreau:  Cape Cod
  • Ivan Turgenev:  Fathers and Sons
  • Glenway Wescott:  The Pilgrim Hawk

As these lists may indicate, there are some writers (eg, James, Turgenev) whom one may only appreciate after a certain age and passage of years.
On the other hand, for various different reasons, books by the following authors do not speak at all to me.

  • The family Amis
  • Saul Bellow
  • The family Bronte
  • Peter Carey
  • David Caute
  • George Eliot
  • Richard Ford
  • Graham Greene
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Howard Jacobson
  • Thomas Keneally
  • Iris Murdoch
  • Anthony Powell
  • Marcel Proust
  • Philip Roth
  • Tom Sharpe
  • Anthony Trollope
  • PG Wodehouse
  • and many more.

For some of these authors, the issue may be a generational one:  for example, I know of no members of late Generation Jones or later-born readers who appreciate that early-Baby Boomer obsession, A Dance to the Music of Time, Powell’s long-winded novel sequence.   Added 2013-02-12:    The age threshold of my personal sample is confirmed by that of Max Hastings, writing in 2004:

Anthony Powell’s fan club, always far smaller than that of his contemporary Evelyn Waugh, will continue to shrink as admirers die off and are not replaced.  Nobody whom I know under 40 reads his books, while Waugh’s position as the greatest English novelist of the 20th century seems secure.”

Of course,  not everyone shares my low opinion of Roth’s work.

Exhibitions concat

A list, sometimes annotated, of various exhibitions I have seen and wish to remember:

  • Unseen:  Works from the collection of the Sidney Nolan Trust, Australian High Commission, London, May 2017.
  • Video ergo sum, video art of Peter Campus, Jeu de Paume, Paris, April 2017. Contained one sublime video.
  • Australia’s Impressionists, National Gallery, London, March 2017. The 1886 painting Allegro con Brio: Bourke Street by Tom Roberts was included: it is remarkable for the absence of any tree, shrub or plant. I preume it is a true depiction of Melbourne at the time.
  • Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, Royal Academy, London, March 2017.
  • Major exhibition of abstract expressionist art at the Royal Academy, London, December 2016. The room of Jackson Pollock paintings was impressive and masterful, and included the sublime “Blue Poles”.  Likewise the room of Rothko, although these paintings are not easy to contemplate when the gallery is busy. Little of interest among the rest, with the exception of a handful of proto-minimalist works: Jack Tworkov’s “Idling II”, which imitates grey rain dribbles on a window, and Barnett Newman’s “Midnight Blue”, which contains a light blue vertical stripe on a dark blue field.  Two others caught my attention: Mark Tabey’s “Parnassus”, which brought to mind the art of Ian Fairweather in gestures that look like scripts, and Sam Francis’ “Summer #2”, with its blue and white patches.
  • Exhibition of abstract expressionist art from the Peggy Guggenheim collection, ING Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, December 2016.
  • Theo van Doesburg:  Palais des Beaux-Arts (Bozar), Brussels, Belgium, March 2016. Seeing so much De Stijl work in one place made me realise how Calvinist this art is: all squares and rectangles; initially only right angles, although some 45 degree angles later (at least the Russian constructivists allowed 120 and 30 degrees); only primary colours; and all the furniture comprising only flat planes and hard surfaces. Who could have sat for long in any of Gerrit Rietveld’s chairs, for instance? This was art for moral improvement or character-building discipline, not for pleasure. How far this aesthetic was from the sensuousness of Brazilian tropicala minimalism or the opart of (say) Bridget Riley.
  • Radical Geometry:  Modern Art of South America from the Collection of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros: Royal Academy, London, July-September 2014.  The exhibition was arranged by geography:  Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuala.  With a couple of exceptions, only the works by Brazilian artists detained me.  Odd that visual art that most people would see as being very similar and of the same style evokes completely disparate reactions in me.   The geometric abstraction of Brazilians is very good and worth going back to, while the rest is just awful.
  • Australia: A review of Australian art at the Royal Academy in London, September 2013. What a pleasure to see so many old friends here, starting with Sydney Long’s 1897 imagist “The Spirit of The Plains” (now in the Queensland Art Gallery), whose vertical trees, musician and landing brolgas trace an enchanting curve.
    Long-Sydney-TheSpiritofthePlains-1897
  • Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld.  The exceptional highlight was a 1641 painting by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado (1611-1678), entitled, “Cristo, Varon de Dolores“, of Christ holding the tree trunk that would be the cross.  The bright red of His cloak is reflected in the drops of red blood on His shoulders, blood from His crown of thorns; and the realistic bark of the tree trunk is reflected in the wood of the crown.
  • Casa Brazil:  Somerset House, London, UK.  Billed as recent Brazilian art and design, at least a third of this exhibition was devoted to a glossy sales pitch for the Rio Olympics 2016.  What recent art and design was included owed a strong influence to Arte Povera and traditional crafts.  Was this representative, I wonder?   Disappointing.
  • The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art:  The Met, NY.  More information here.
  • Sol LeWitt:  A Wall-Drawing Retrospective:  Mass MOCA (only until 2033, so do hurry along).  A wonderful collection of realisations of LeWitt’s various instructions for drawing on walls, many involving the comprehensive exploration of combinatorial possibilities, in manner similar to that of Alighiero e Boetti.   Some superb uses of colour and line, and some reminders in shape and colour of Bridget Riley’s almond paintings.
  • The Old and the New:  Pintupi masterworks from the Collection 1980s – 2000s:  Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.   Among some very moving art, an interesting feature is the optical turn in Pintupi art – the recent use of more abstract and op-art styles, with artists deploying intense repetition, oscillation, and visual effects.  Because Australian aboriginal art usually has mythological, argumentative or narrative denotation (as discussed here and here), these optical effects may be mere artefacts of our western viewership, rather than features intended by the artists.  It would be interesting to know to what extent the effects have been intended. Surely, this is something the curators of the exhibition should tell us, although doing so runs contrary to the prevailing philosophy of art curation to focus all attention on the finished object, while ignoring most else of relevance, such as the anthropological or theological context of its creation.
  • Masterpieces of English Watercolours and Drawings from the National Gallery of Scotland:  Lowell Libson Gallery, London 2011.    Catalog here.    Spectator review here.  This exhibition included a fine Bonington and a superb Cotman:  A Pool on the River Greta near Rokeby (pictured in the Spectator review and below); as with all Cotman’s landscapes, the proportions of the scene’s components are masterly and well-tempered, a fine sense of proportion and partition he shared only with Bonington and Richard Wilson.

Recent reading 5


A list, sometimes annotated, of books recently read:

  • Richard Bassett [2012]:  Hitler’s Spy Chief.   New York: Pegasus. A biography of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr.  This book appears to be a reissue (also revised?) of a book  first published in 2005.  The subject and argument of the book are fascinating, but sadly this is not matched by the writing, which is just appalling.The first problem is with the status of the book.  The inside cover pages say “copyright 2011”, and “First Pegasus Books hardcover edition 2012”, yet the Acknowledgements section is dated 2004.   Various references to contemporary events throughout the book also indicate a date of writing of around 2003 or so.   The front section contains a “Preface to the American Edition”which is undated, but cites letters written in 2008 and 2009.  The author’s sloppiness with dates is manifest throughout the book, and it is often very hard for a reader to determine exactly which year events being described actually happened.A further great sloppiness concerns the use of names – many people, like citizens of Indonesia, appear only to have surnames.   Later references will often find a first name attached to the surname – is this the same person, one wonders?  It is as if the author assumes we know as much as he seems to know about minor Nazi officials, and temporary clerks in MI6.The book actually reads like the author’s narrative notes for a book rather than the book itself, with much background information missing or assumed to be known by the reader.   Is this his first draft perhaps, ready for editing?   How could one write on the topic of German foreign intelligence in WW II without discussion of the XX Committee, for example?    Admittedly, the author does make one single reference to this operation (on page 280, out of 296 pages of text), but with no explanation of what the committee was doing or an evaluation of its work, and not even a listing in the index.    And given the author’s argument that Canaris was an internal opponent of Hitler from before the start of WW II, then an analysis of the alleged success of the XX operations in outwitting Nazi intelligence is surely needed here.  Was Canaris complicit in these operations, for example?   Especially if, as the author believes, Canaris met with his British opposite number, Sir Stewart Menzies, during WW II.And like a person too eager to please, the author’s sentences run on and on and on, with clause after subordinate clause, each introducing a new topic or change or direction, or dropping yet another name, in some drunken word association game.    Where were the editors when this book was submitted?  On vacation?  On strike?   Reading the book requires a reader to fight past the author’s appalling prose style to reach the interesting content.    Sadly, Admiral Canaris still awaits a good English-language biography.
  • Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman [2012]:  Spies Against Armageddon:  Inside Israel’s Secret Wars. Levant Books.
  • Milton Bearden and James Risen [2004]: The Main Enemy:  The Insider Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB.  Presidio Press.
  • Natalie Dykstra [2012]:  Clover Adams:  A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.   An intelligent and sympathetic life of Marian (“Clover”) Hooper Adams (1843-1885), pioneer of art photography, wife of Henry Adams, and a daughter of transcendentalist poet, Ellen Sturgis Hooper.   She was a friend and muse to Henry James, and a distant relative of the step-family of George Santayana.
  • Archie Brown [2010]:  The Rise and Fall of Communism.  Vintage.
  • James Douglass [2008]:   JFK and the Unspeakable:  Why he Died and Why it Matters. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books.
  • Sidney Ploss [2009]:  The Roots of Perestroika:  The Soviet Breakdown in Historical Context. McFarland and Company.
  • David Maraniss [2012]:  Barack Obama:  The Story.  Simon and Schuster.
  • Ben MacIntyre [2012]: Double Cross:  The True Story of the D-Day Spies.  London: Bloomsbury. Reviewed here.
  • Colin Eatock [2009]: Mendelssohn and Victorian England.  London: Ashgate.  A detailed and comprehensive account of Mendelssohn’s visits to England (and his one visit to Scotland), and his activities, musical and other, while there.
  • George Dyson [2012]:  Turing’s Cathedral:  The Origins of the Digital Universe.  Allen Lane.   A fascinating account of the involvement of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) in Princeton, NJ, in the early development of scientific computing, led by that larger-than-life character, Johnnie von Neumann.
  • Gordon Brook-Shepherd [1988]: The Storm Birds:  Soviet Post-War Defectors.  Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
  • Neil Sheehan [2010]:  A Fiery Peace in a Cold War:  Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon. Vintage Books.  A fascinating history of the US inter-continental ballistic missile program in the 1950s, told through a biography of one of its parents, USAF General Bennie Schriever.    It is easy to forget how much practical expertise was needed for successful missile and satellite launches, as with any new and complex technology.   As a consequence, we forget how few of the early test launch attempts were successful.  The Vanguard 3 rocket, for example, launched just 3 satellites out of 11 attempts between December 1957 and September 1959. (Vanguard was a USN project.)

The photo shows the Mercury-Atlas and Gemini-Titan rockets at Rocket Park in New York City (courtesy of the NY Hall of Science).

Gallery concat

For the record, a listing of fine art galleries and museums I have visited (AFAIR), in alpha order:

  • 21er Haus, Vienna Austria
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen Scotland UK
  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin Germany
  • Altes Museum, Berlin Germany
  • Altonaer Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Altona, Hamburg Germany
  • American Folk Art Museum, New York City NY USA
  • Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Greece
  • Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington VA USA
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL USA
  • Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco CA USA
  • Asia Society Museum, New York City NY USA
  • Ateneum, Helsinki Finland
  • Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Australia
  • Australian War Memorial, Canberra Australia
  • Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham UK
  • Barbican Gallery, London UK
  • Belvedere Museums, Vienna Austria
  • Bletchley Park Museum, Bletchley UK
  • Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool UK
  • Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Bolton UK
  • Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • BOZAR – Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels Belgium
  • Bribie Island Seaside Museum, Bribie Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland Australia
  • British Museum, London UK
  • Bury Art Museum, Bury Lancashire UK
  • Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris France
  • Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris France
  • Colegio del Patriarca, Valencia Spain
  • Communist History Museum, Moscow RF
  • Coptic Museum, Cairo Egypt
  • Courtauld Gallery, London UK
  • Cycladic Art Museum, Athens Greece
  • Dia: Beacon, Beacon NY USA
  • The Drawing Center, New York City NY USA
  • Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof, Kreuzberg, Berlin Germany
  • Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra Australia
  • Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London UK
  • Ethnological Museum of Berlin, Dahlem, Berlin Germany
  • Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge UK
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Gallery, Chicago IL USA
  • The Frick Collection, New York, USA
  • Frida Kahlo House, Mexico DF, Mexico
  • Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona Catalonia Spain
  • Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris France
  • Galleria Borghese, Rome Italy
  • Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano (GAM), Milan Italy
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome Italy
  • Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane Australia
  • Gallery Seomi, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, Toronto Canada
  • Gemaldegalerie, Berlin Germany
  • Glypotek Museum, Copenhagen Denmark
  • Guggenheim Museum, New York City NY USA
  • Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich Switzerland
  • Hayward Gallery, London UK
  • Highgate Cemetary, London UK
  • Hofburg Palace, Vienna Austria
  • Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong PRC
  • Hortamuseum, Victor Horta House, Brussels Belgium
  • Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Sydney Australia
  • Imperial War Museum, Duxford UK
  • Imperial War Museum, London UK
  • ING Art Centre, Place Royale, Brussels Belgium
  • Insadong-gil galleries, Seoul Republic of Korea
  • International Slavery Museum, Liverpool UK
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin Eire
  • Izumo-taisha Shinto Shrine, Izumo-shi, Shimani Prefecture, Japan
  • Jewish Museum, Prague Czech Republic
  • Kiasma – Museum for Contemporary Art, Helsinki Finland
  • Kronborg Castle, Helsingor Denmark
  • Kunsten – Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg Denmark
  • Kunsthalle Hamburg und Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg Germany
  • KunstHausWien, Vienna Austria
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna Austria
  • Lady Lever Gallery, Port Sunlight, Wirral UK
  • Lafcadio Hearn House, Matsue, Shimani Prefecture, Japan
  • Lancaster City Museum, Lancaster Lancashire UK
  • Landesmuseum, Zurich Switzerland
  • Leopold Museum, Vienna Austria
  • Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek Denmark
  • Luton Hoo, Luton Bedfordshire UK
  • Manchester City Gallery, Manchester UK
  • Marc Chagall National Museum, Nice France
  • Martin Gropius Bau, Kreuzberg, Berlin Germany
  • Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MOCA), North Adams, MA USA
  • Matthew Flinders Art Gallery, Bribie Island Community Arts Centre, Bribie Island, Qld, Australia
  • Mauritshuis, Den Haag, The Netherlands
  • Mayakovsky House, Moscow RF
  • Memento Communist Sculpture Park, Budapest Hungary
  • Mendelssohn Gesellschaft, Berlin Germany
  • Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool UK
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City NY USA
  • Modern Art Oxford Gallery, Oxford UK
  • Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, Bethlehem PA USA
  • Musée Bourdelle de Paris, Paris France
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris France
  • Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris France
  • Musée du Louvre, Paris France
  • Musée Matisse, Nice France
  • Musée national de la Marine, Trocadero, Paris, France
  • Musée national Picasso, Paris France
  • Musei Vaticani, The Vatican
  • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon Portugal
  • Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (MAMbo), Bologna Italy
  • Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico DF Mexico
  • Museo de Bellas Arts de Valencia, Valencia Spain
  • Museo di Strumenti Musicali dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome Italy
  • Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona Catalonia Spain
  • Museum Bahara – National Maritime Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia
  • Museum of Asian Art, Berlin Germany
  • Museum of Australian Democracy, Canberra Australia
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL USA
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Australia
  • Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo Egypt
  • Museum of Islamic Art,  Cairo Egypt
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York City NY USA
  • Museum of Popular Musical Instruments, Athens Greece
  • Museum of Portuguese Music, Casa Verdades de Faria, Monte Estoril Portugal
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester UK
  • Museum Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia
  • Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels Belgium
  • Musikinstrumenten Museum Berlin Germany
  • National Archeological Museum, Athens Greece
  • National Computer Museum of Great Britain, Bletchley UK
  • National Gallery, London UK
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington DC USA
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Australia
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Australia
  • National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare Zimbabwe
  • National Jewish Museum, Budapest Hungary
  • National Maritime Museum, Greenwich UK
  • National Museum of Australia, Canberra Australia
  • National Palace Museum, Taipei Taiwan RoC
  • Neues Museum, Berlin Germany
  • New Italy Museum, nr. Woodburn NSW Australia
  • Palace Museum, Forbidden City, Beijing PRC
  • Palais des Beaux-Arts (Bozar), Brussels Belgium
  • Pergamon Museum, Berlin Germany DDR
  • Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy
  • Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Australia
  • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow RF
  • Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane Australia
  • Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, Canberra Australia
  • Rose Seidler House, Wahroonga, Sydney Australia
  • Royal Academy of Arts, London UK
  • Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon Aerodrome, London UK
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco CA USA
  • Science Museum, London UK
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Scotland UK
  • Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA USA
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC USA
  • Sonoma Gallery of Shona Sculpture, Sonoma CA USA
  • State Historical Museum, Moscow RF
  • State Library of New South Wales, Sydney Australia
  • Sudley House Gallery, Liverpool UK
  • Tate Britain, London UK
  • Tate Liverpool, Liverpool UK
  • Tate Modern, London UK
  • Tenterfield School of Arts, Tenterfield NSW Australia
  • Trotsky House, Mexico DF Mexico
  • Unhyeongung – Unhyeon Palace, Jongno-gu, Seoul Republic of Korea
  • Verulamium Museum, St. Albans UK
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK
  • Vikingeskibs Museet, Roskilde Denmark
  • Walker Gallery, Liverpool UK
  • The Wallace Collection, London UK
  • Whitechapel Gallery, London UK
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City NY USA
  • Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester UK
  • Wiener Secessionsgebäude, Vienna Austria

Bands

Gripped as I seem to be by listmania, here is another:  of orchestras and ensembles I have seen perform live.   I omit chamber music groups, counting only ensembles large enough to need a conductor.

  • Academy of St Martin in the Fields, London
  • Aurora Orchestra, London
  • Australia Ensemble
  • Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • Australian Youth Orchestra
  • BBC Philharmonic, Manchester
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood
  • Brandenburg Baroque Soloists, London
  • Britten Sinfonia, London
  • Canberra Symphony Orchestra
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Ensemble 10:10, Liverpool
  • Ensemble 11, Manchester
  • European Brandenburg Ensemble
  • Halle Orchestra, Manchester
  • Hamburger Symphoniker
  • Harare City Orchestra
  • Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Irving Symphony Orchestra
  • Isabella a Capella
  • Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
  • Lismore Regional Symphony Orchestra
  • London Philharmonic
  • London Sinfonietta
  • London Symphony Orchestra
  • Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Manchester Camerata
  • Medici Choir, London
  • Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Merseyside Youth Orchestra
  • Moscow Soloists String Chamber Ensemble
  • Northern Sinfonia, Gateshead
  • Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London
  • Orchestra Mozart, Bologna
  • Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice
  • Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, London
  • Orquestra Gulbenkian, Lisbon
  • Patonga Orchestra
  • Queensland Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra
  • Queensland Symphony Orchestra
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • RNCM Chamber Orchestra, Manchester
  • Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Siglo de Oro, London
  • Silk Road Ensemble
  • Solistes de Musique Ancienne, London
  • Soweto Symphony Orchestra
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Vienna Chamber Orchestra
  • University of Liverpool Symphony Orchestra

 

Conductors

This is a list, as best I can recall, of the conductors I have seen in live performance.  If memory serves, I add the ensemble I saw them direct.

  • Claudia Abbado, Orchestra Mozart Bologna
  • Thomas Ades, Britten Sinfonia, London
  • Yuri Bashmet, Moscow Soloists String Orchestra
  • Stuart Challender, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Nicholas Collon, Aurora Orchestra
  • Matthew Coorey, RLPO and Halle Orchestra
  • Gustavo Dudamel, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Mark Elder, Halle Orchestra Manchester
  • John Eliot Gardiner, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, London
  • Edward Gardner, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London
  • John Gay, Soweto Symphony Orchestra and Maseru Singers
  • Richard Gill, Patonga Orchestra
  • Reinhard Goebel, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Hector Guzman, Irving Symphony Orchestra
  • Bernard Haitink, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Nicholas Kraemer, Manchester Camerata
  • Marcelo Lehninger, Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Charles Mackerras, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Neville Marriner, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
  • Diego Matheuz, Orchestra Mozart/Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Michael Morgan, Queensland Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra
  • Joel Newsome, Solistes de Musique Ancienne
  • Gianandrea Noseda, BBC Philharmonic
  • Sakari Oramo, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
  • Libor Pesek, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Vasily Petrenko, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Trevor Pinnock, European Brandenburg Ensemble
  • Simon Rattle, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Gerard Schwarz, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Brian Stacey, Lismore Regional Symphony Orchestra
  • Marcus Stenz, Halle Orchestra Manchester
  • Patrick Thomas, Queensland Symphony Orchestra
  • Robin Ticciati, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • David Urquhart-Jones, Lismore Regional Symphony Orchestra.