Hilberts sixth problem Can physics be axiomatised

In 1900, German mathematician David Hilbert published a set of 23 problems that he felt would further the disciplines of mathematics. All unsolved at the time, the problems influenced the work of mathematicians throughout the 20th century.

Hilbert's sixth problem, to axiomatise the branches of physics where mathematics is prevalent, is still unsolved after 116 years. Today, it remains one of the most influential areas of interdisciplinary dialogue in mathematics and mathematical physics.

This May, the University of Leicester will be facilitating that interdisciplinary discussion across key mathematical and physical disciplines involved in the solution of the problem. With topics ranging from fluid dynamics, kinetic theory and quantum probability to geometry, mechanics and biology, the planned three day workshop will feature talks from many prominent scientists in a variety of different fields.

Alexander N. Gorban, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester and organiser of the workshop, said “The proposed conference aims to gather top experts of Hilbert’s sixth problem, to review the current achievements in the formalisation and solutions of the problem, and to formulate the main mathematical challenges and problems which have arisen from 115 years of work.

“This renewed programmatic call should be disseminated and explained together with modern achievements to the interdisciplinary research community and to a new generation of mathematicians.”

The University of Leicester will be hosting the workshop at College Court, Oadby from Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th May.