I recently received an E-mail, and give an abridged version of it and my reply.
Hello Mr John Lucas, I go to school in Perth in Western Australia. In the subject mathematics at my school, we were given a project to research a given mathematician and write a report on them. I was given you. I have to incorporate some information about the mathematical times in which you live and to attempt to include details of the contribution that you made to the field of mathematics. I also have to include a short biography of your life. If it is alright with you, would you be able to give me a brief biography of your life (e.g. date of birth, schooling, where you lived) and a very brief summary of the contributions you have made to the field of mathematics. If it is possible, even the mathematical times in which we live. I hope this is not too much trouble and if you could, would you be able to e-mail it to me as soon as possible please since we don't have long to finish the project. Please e-mail it back to me on my dad's address above. I hope this is not a bother to you. Remember, I am only a high school student and I might not understand all that you hopefully send. Thankyou very much.
This is my Who's Who entry:
John Randolph Lucas, FBA 1988; formerly Fellow and Tutor of Merton College, Oxford; b 18 June 1929; s of late Reverend E. de G. Lucas, sometime Archdeacon of Durham, and Joan Mary Lucas; married 1961, Morar Portal, elder daughter of Sir Reginald Portal, KCB, DSC; two sons,Edward and Richard, two daughters, Helen and Deborah. Educated St Mary's College, Winchester; Balliol College, Oxford; John Locke Scholarship, 1952; MA 1954. Junior Research Fellow, Merton College, Oxford, 1953-56; Fellow and Assistant Tutor, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 1956-59; Jane Eliza Procter Visiting Fellow, Princeton University 1957-58; Leverhulme Research Fellow, Leeds University, 1959-60; Fellow and Tutor of Merton College, Oxford, 1960-1996; Reader in Philosophy, Oxford University, 1990-6. Chairman, Oxford Consumers' Group, 1961-63, 1965. Member: Archbishops' Commission on Christian Doctrine, 1967-76; Lichfield Commissionn on Divorce and Remarriage, 1975-78. President, British Society for the Philosophy of Science, 1991-93. Lectures: (jointly) Gifford, University of Edinburgh, 1971-73; Margaret Harris, University of Dundee, 1981; Harry Jelema, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, 1987. Publications: Principles of Politics, 1966, 2nd edn 1985; The Concept of Probability1970; The Freedom of the Will, 1970; (jointly) The Nature of Mind, 1972; (jointly) The Development of Mind, 1973; A Treatise on Time and Space, 1973; Essays on Freedom and Grace, 1976; Democracy and Participation, 1976 (trans. Portuguese, 1985); On Justice, 1980; Space, Time and Causality, 1985; The Future, 1989; (jointly) Spacetime and Electromagnetism, 1990; Responsibility, 1993; (jointly) Ethical Economics, 1997; various articles in learned jounals. Recreation: walking and talking. Address: Lambrook House, East Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset TAI3 5HW. Tel. South Petherton (01460) 240413. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org WWW site http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas
Note 1. I am a quarter Australian. My father's mother was Kate Alman Smart. Her grandfather was a convict (sentenced at Lancaster in 1809, but I don't know what for.) My greatgrandfather, T.W.Smart, was quite prominent in public life---member of legislative council, even State Treasurer. I am very happy that you (plural) have voted against ditching the Queen and us: I should have hated being one quarter a foreigner. I had to keep quiet during the campaign, as you would not have liked being told how to vote by a three-quarters Pommie, but now I can express my feelings freely.)
Note 2. My father-in-law served in Australia at the end of the war against Japan.
Note 3. I have a god-daughter in Alice Springs.
Note 4. I have a niece, Ruth Lucas in Australia, on her way to Perth when last heard of.
Since last revising my Who's Who entry I published on October 15th The Conceptual Roots of Mathematics. There is a short account of it on my web page. The URL is http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas//mathblur.html
My chief claims are that mathematics is as much a doing as a seeing, and that if we think of mathematical argument as a dialogue between two people instead of a monologue, we get a much better understanding of mathematical proof. The simplest example is ``Mathematical Induction'' or Argument by Recursion, as I call it. Mathematics is based on logic, but cannot be reduced to it. This follows from Goedel's Theorem. I explain Gödel's Theorem in http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/implic.html
[But it is very difficult. In my book, I say that it is the pons asinorum of modern mathematics. An American feminist said I was a sexist, because I always use the masculine to include the feminine. But would you rather that I should talk of the pons asinarum?]
I used Gödel's Theorem in http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/mmg.html
to argue for Free Will.
This has proved very controversial.
I give my side of the argument in http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/turn.html
If your browser can do colours you might like to download http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/polychro.html
and give a talk on the Lorentz Transformations in the Special Theory of Relativity.
I hope this is some help.
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