“The End of Proof”? The Integration of Different Mathematical Cultures as Experimental Mathematics Comes of Age

  • Henrik Kragh Sørensen
Conference paper
Part of the Trends in the History of Science book series (TRENDSHISTORYSCIENCE)


In this paper, the recent emergence of a professed “experimental” culture in mathematics during the past three decades is analysed based on an adaptation of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s notion of “experimental systems” that mesh into experimental cultures. In so doing, I approach the question of how distinct mathematical cultures can coexist and blend into a common understanding that allows for cultural convergence while preserving heterogeneity.


Experimental mathematics Computer-assisted mathematics Experimental systems Rheinberger Convergent cultures 

MSC (2010)

00A30 (General: philosophy of mathematics) 01A60 (History and biography: 20th century) 01A61 (History and biography: twenty-first century) 



I am grateful for the excellent suggestions made by colleagues at the Centre for Science Studies and by participants in the “Mathematical Cultures” series of conferences. Some of this research has been presented in Sørensen (2010a) and Sørensen (2013).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science Studies, Department of MathematicsAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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