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23rd FEBRUARY 2016

A Message from the Director of the Archive Trust

To all visitors to this web site and to all its would-be users :

May I offer my apologies as the Director of the Trust for the delay in the planned updating and improvement of these pages.

We have for some time had the following aims in view :

1.   Total re-construction of the site

2.   The completion of the Catalogue of recordings

3.   The uploading of an initial selection of the recordings.


The current position

As regards 3)  we had hoped by now to have uploaded at least a representative selection of the recordings made since 2000.  This portion of the Archive is already mostly in digital form and includes almost all the video recordings.  The recordings from 2007 onwards are completely backed up in multiple hard drives.  So are all the Video recordings dating back to 1996.  The majority of the other recordings made from 1999 to 2006 are still on DVDs and CDs. The bulk of the older audio recordings – made between 1972-73 and the late 1990s – are still mostly in their original form in analog media

Digitizing these, along with all the supporting documentation to make them available on line is one of the foremost aims of this project.   But significant funding is required for this.  The Trust is a small charitable organization operating with very slender resources and having many other commitments to be met (notably to making additional recordings every week to keep abreast of key developments in he subjects it covers).  For a further explanation of its priorities please see the section below on the aims and objects of the Archive Trust)

So we ask for your continued patience and understanding. We shall be doing all in our power in the coming months to turn this site into an increasingly  useful resource for students and researchers.


Interim Measures for the existing Site

For so long as the site stays in its present WordPress format  the Catalogue can only remain in the form of a basic chronology of the recordings.   To simplify the layout of the pages and make them more useable, we shall gradually move the catalogue pages running back to the beginning of 2000 from a one-page-a-month to a one-page-a-day format

As a further interim measure – pending the complete reconstruction of the site – we shall also create separate sections of the Catalogue listing all the recordings dealing with  specific topics.   The first three sections to be created will be those listing recordings in the following subject areas

Category Theory and Topos Theory

General Relativity and Cosmology

Foundations of Quantum Theory and Quantum Gravity


Plans for The New Site

This is what we are aiming at :

The bare chronology of the recordings which forms the current and very incomplete catalogue will be completely replaced by a new and complete catalogue which offers searchability of all the material by multiple fields – speaker, title, topic,  relevant key words, and location. The existing Word Press site will remain in operation until this new site and catalogue are complete and we have received user feedback. As the new site is being developed, we shall aim to have the catalogue entries for each recording linked with the following information

1.   In the speaker field : A listing of all other recordings in the Archive by that speaker, with further links to a bibliography of their writings and where copyright clearance permits, links to any scanned or e-archived copies of their published work which the Archive holds.

Pending the construction of the new site, bibliographies of speaker’s writings and links  (when copyright permits) will be added to the Section “Catalogue of the Archive by Speaker” within the existing Word Press Site.  This is clearly a massive task. Progress will be gradual and depend on available funding.

2.  In the topic field :  Links to the relevant section of the subject-catalogue and the appropriate subdivisions within each subject.

There will continue to be links from the entry for each recording to the speaker’s overheads, in the case of audio recordings, wherever the Archive holds copies of these, and to scanned copies of other supporting material, whenever this is held by the Archive.  In the case of the Videos, recent apps permit the embedding of the speaker’s overheads within the screen, synched to the portion of the recording where he or she made use of that particular overhead. Having overheads synchronised and embedded within the video recordings is our long-term aim.  Achieving that with an Archive of this size will be time-consuming. In the meantime they will be available, whenever the Archive holds them, via a separate link for each recording in the existing catalogue. They will be uploaded as far as possible in tandem with the recordings dating back to the Year 2000.

We should like to thank  our friends and collaborators at Great Bear Recording Studios, Bristol UK,  headed by Mr Adrian Finn. They are currently responsible for the technical support currently given to this project. In particular we thank George Palframan for his work on the design of the  new web site which when finished  should immensely increase the value of the Archive to students and researchers

For Further Information on these plans and developments see the Sections Progress Report for 2013-2014 and Thanks to our Helpers and Volunteers



About the Archive :

The Archive for Mathematical Sciences and Philosophy holds a collection of over 22, 750 audio and video recordings on subjects in mathematics, physics and philosophy, particularly the philosophy and foundations of mathematics and physics. The earliest recordings date back to 1966-68.  Recordings have been added continuously since 1973 and new material is recorded weekly.

In May 2008 it became a Charitable Trust under English Law. Its Charity Registration Number is 1141862. Details of its Trustees can be seen on the Page headed “Trustees”

This web site is currently undergoing radical reconstruction and will then be available in a new form with a greatly improved content management system and with the complete catalogue of the recordings  together with a selection of up to 10, 000 of the video and audio recordings and supporting material (overheads etc) finally available on line.

Why such an Archive ?

Such a large-scale archive of Conferences, Seminars, Discussions, Interviews and other oral material supplies a rich additions to the published records of the Sciences. Often it can also supply corrections of perspective with respect to those records.

Such recordings allow historians of science and mathematics to form a better appreciation of the background to the emergence of new ideas;  and also of the complex pattern formed by “roads not taken” – ideas which for whatever reason were laid aside, or apparently subsumed in other developments.  Those ideas  may later re-emerge in ways yielding a new perspective on those developments.  Such a rich archive of primary source material aids historical study of the Sciences and the conceptual and philosophical questions to which they give rise.  But the benefits are not only benefits for the historian.  One other important aim of the Archive is to preserve material which serves as an illustration of best teaching practice and as a model for the exposition of mathematical, scientific and philosophy subjects.