Gabriel Andreescu is a Romanian human rights activist and political scientist born on 8 April 1952 in Buzău. He is one of the few Romanian dissidents who openly opposed Ceauşescu and the communist regime in Romania. At present, he is a professor with the Doctoral School of Philosophy, Sociology, and Political Science, West University of Timișoara, and an active member of several Romanian human rights organizations. He is also a journalist, writing and lecturing on topics such as multiculturalism, national minorities, religious freedom and secularism, the ethics and politics of memory, and others. He is editor of the Romanian-language Noua Revistă de Drepturile Omului. Two of his books: Existenţa prin cultură. Represiune, colaboraţionism şi rezistenţă intelectuală sub regimul comunist (Polirom, 2015) and Cărturari, opozanți și documente. Manipularea Arhivei Securității (Polirom, 2013) were awarded by the Observator Cultural magazine.
Solomon Marcus, in Memories
In the essay, I relate a few encounters with Professor Solomon Marcus during my youth, which were important for my intellectual evolution, as well as occasional dialogues with him from the last decade. My personal experience made me see Solomon Marcus as a generous and devoted teacher. Knowing his work, I maintain in this essay that Solomon Marcus is, in Romanian culture, a unique humanist, and the person closest to the aspiration of a Renaissance man.
Doctorate in Medicine (degree cum laude) University of Cluj, Romania, 1954. Instructor of neurology as student in his 5th year. Residence at the Neurological Institute of Academy 1956. Doctor in Science, University C.I. Parhon Bucharest. Researcher in Neuroscience at Weitzman Institute 1974-1975. In 1981, Associated Prof. of Neurology at Mount-Sinai School of Medicine NY University. In 1986, Director of the Sleep Medicine Center at Sheba Medical Center. Professeur Agrégé Pierre et Marie Curie University. In 1995, Clinical Professor of Neurology at Sackler School of Medicine. In 2016, Honorary member of the Academy of Romania. In 2018, Professor Faculty of Law at TAU. Author of 13 books, 12 chapters in books, 112 original scientific articles in the field of Neurology and Sleep Medicine, 195 presentations at national and international congresses and 31 invited lectures. 13 Awards.
The Brain, the Diamond in Nature’s Crown
I am interested in research themes that are not included in the university syllabus of medical faculties, such as smiling, laughing, crying, yawning, hiccupping, sighing, etc., which are considered banalities. When I retired, my free time occurred together with this trigger: a booklet by Solomon Marcus entitled Signs about Signs. Then the first book about emotions, humor, smiling, laughing, and crying was ready to be presented. Of course, Prof. Solomon Marcus was chosen to make the presentation and he did it more brilliantly than the book itself. I have chosen a few of my many dialogues with this interdisciplinary mathematician for the second commemorative volume in his honor.
Being a neurologist, I am ending these remarks with an imaginary posthumous dialogue on the theme of one of his articles, The human brain: Many hypothesis, few clarifications. The brain is not a perfect organ. It is subject to errors. But it is the diamond in the crown of nature. At the speed of light, it enables us to think, to remember our experiences, and to express ideas and visions about the future. It can never be surpassed by a cybernetic brain, because whenever a cyborg acquires the capabilities of a human being, the living human brain will surpass it.
Viorel Barbu is a mathematician, a professor with the “Al.I. Cuza” University of Iași and a member of the Romanian Academy. His scientific work is in the ﬁeld of differential equations and mathematical control theory. He has published more than 150 original papers in these fields, in international mathematical journals, and 10 monographs with Springer, Academic Press, Kluwer, and other European publishing houses.
An Encyclopedic Spirit
Solomon Marcus was the exponent of the scientific and humanist culture. Mathematician of great talent, he created new bridges between mathematics, linguistic, poetry and was dedicated to the Romanian culture. He was a Romanian intellectual in the real sense of this word.
Ștefan Bratosin is full professor exceptional class at Paul Valéry University of Montpellier, France. He is the editor-in-chief of the academic journal Essachess – Journal for Communication Studies and founder of the open research center IARSIC. His main research topics are the mediatization, NTIC, public sphere, and religion. Ștefan Bratosin questions these subjects not only in his scientific publications – articles, books, conferences, and collective volumes – but also within a television program of mediatization of the science broadcast on Speranța TV.
Solomon Marcus, Sign and Symbol of Hope is a semiotic-symbolic perspective of a condensed life lived one hour on a television set with a personality whose meaning in the universal context of culture is synonymous with an intellectual activity which roams the ways of the understanding of the world by moving mathematics into poetry and by demonstrating by the logic of the number the absence of reason as well as the injustice that results from the instrumentalization of the putting into figures of the image of social functioning.
Andrew Michael Bruckner, a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, is an American mathematician known for his contributions to real analysis. The “Andy Award” is given annually in his name, to significant contributors to real analysis.
Memories about Solomon Marcus
The author, an American mathematician, reminisces about his acquaintance and correspondence with Solomon Marcus, his senior by several years, which greatly influenced his career and sent it on a different course than was originally intended. He also recalls the three times they actually met, once in Bucharest, a second time in the US, and a third time in Lodz, Poland. The article was first issued in the volume of Meetings with Solomon Marcus, Spandugino Publishers, 2010.
Cristian S. Calude is a mathematician and computer scientist working in theoretical computer science and quantum physics. He holds a personal chair at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
A Dream with Solomon Marcus
A recent dialogue with Solomon Marcus as we had many, many times. Was it a dream? In this imaginary dialogue, the author discusses with the late Solomon Marcus about their enthusiastic reading of the previous issue dedicated by Secolul 21 to the Romanian mathematician and thinker who passed away in 2016.
Professor Malița as I have known him
A flashback of the multi-dimensional life of Mircea Malița as witnessed for about half a century by a high-school student who became a student in mathematics, a long time collaborator and an academic colleague.
Mariana Celac is a graduate of the University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest. She took advanced studies at the Today University in Tokyo, Japan. She works as an architect, an urban developer, and a contributor to numerous Romanian and foreign publications in the field. She teaches at the Bucharest “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism.
An Ongoing Feast
The article deals with its author’s attending a conference delivered by Solomon Marcus at the Department of Mathematics in 2009, on “Mistake as a Source of Creativity”. Being late and having to sit on the steps of the auditorium, she has the opportunity to observe the audience and feels she has entered an alternate world. She also remembers and recalls private conversations on a variety of topics with the then-lecturer.
Marcel Danesi is Full Professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto, where he also runs the Program in Semiotics and Communication Theory. He has published extensively in the field of semiotics. His most recent books include Language and Mathematics (De Gruyter Mouton, 2016) and The Semiotics of Emoji (Bloomsbury, 2016). He is currently the editor of Semiotica, the journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies.
Solomon Marcus and the Interconnection of Semiotics and Mathematics
Solomon Marcus was a brilliant semiotician who understood the importance of applying semiotic theory to the understanding of mathematics. This paper looks at Marcus’ significance to the hybrid field of mathematical semiotics, whereby it is argued that Marcus’ approach to mathematics from the angle of semiotic and linguistic theories has provided veritable insights into the nature of mathematics as a sign system, designed to explore reality in its own unique way. Marcus was also one of the first to suggest that discovery and invention are interactive intellectual forces in mathematics. Discovery happens after ideas that are given formal representation subsequently suggest other ideas through that representation. The discovery of the laws of logarithms came about subsequent to the invention of exponential notation, because the notation suggested other ways to carry out computations. Remarkably, logarithms are also found serendipitously to inhere in natural phenomena. This paper aims to highlight the importance of Marcus’ work to understanding mathematics as a sign system that serves both discovery and invention, following on the coat tails of another great semiotician-mathematician, René Thom.
Liviu P. Dinu is a professor at the University of Bucharest, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and a director of the Human Language Technologies Research Center. Solomon Marcus was his PhD supervisor (in 2003), and in 2014 he defended his habilitation thesis entitled “Similarity and decision problems in Computational Linguistics”. In 2005, he received the “In Hoc Signo Vinces” Prize (Magna cum Laude), for research and publications awarded by the National Research Council for Higher Education and in 2007 the “Grigore C. Moisil” Prize awarded by the Romanian Academy (for 2005). He published two books, four chapters in books, and over 100 scientific papers.
Ana Sabina Uban is a PhD student in computational linguistics at the University of Bucharest. She has a computer science background and currently does research in natural language processing, where she likes to work on problems that help us understand more about the way we use language. She has worked as an intern in applied science for big companies like Google and Amazon, trying to help with solving more practical problems such as ads recommendations. She is interested in artificial intelligence in general, curious about languages, and enthusiastic about education and science.
Analyzing Stylistic Variation across
Different Political Regimes
In this article we propose a stylistic analysis of texts written across two different periods, which differ not only temporally, but politically and culturally: communism and democracy in Romania. We aim to analyze the stylistic variation between texts written during these two periods, and determine at what levels the variation is more apparent (if any): at the stylistic level, at the topic level etc. We take a look at the stylistic profile of these texts comparatively, by performing clustering and classification experiments on the texts, using traditional authorship attribution methods and features. To confirm the stylistic variation is indeed an effect of the change in political and cultural environment, and not merely reflective of a natural change in the author’s style with time, we look at various stylistic metrics over time and show that the change in style between the two periods is statistically significant. We also perform an analysis of the variation in topic between the two epochs, to compare with the variation at the style level. These analyses show that texts from the two periods can indeed be distinguished, both from the point of view of style and from that of semantic content (topic).
Mugur Isărescu has been serving as Governor of the National Bank of Romania since 1990. During this period, he was also Prime Minister of Romania (1999-2000) and Honorary Director of The Institute of World Economy (since 1997).
He has held various positions in international bodies: Governor for Romania in the IMF’s Board of Governors, Alternate Governor for Romania in the EBRD’s Board of Governors, Representative of Romania at the BIS in Basel, President of the Central Bank Governors’ Club in the Region of Black Sea, Balkans, and Central Asia.
Mr. Isărescu is a Member of the Romanian Academy since 2006 and president of its Economic, Law, and Sociological Sciences Section. He is a corresponding member of Real Academia de Doctores in Spain (2009); Corresponding member of Real Academia de Ciencias Económicas y Financieras in Barcelona (2008) and Doctor Honoris Causa of prestigious universities in Romania. He has authored and coordinated over 100 books and research papers.
This very brief presentation of Solomon Marcus as a “scholar-citizen” is a tribute paid to the great scientist by a famous Romanian man of finance and banker, the current Governor of the Romanian National Bank.
Alina Ledeanu is a literary critic, translator, essayist. She holds a Ph. D from Université de Paris VIII, under the supervision of poet and philosopher Michel Deguy. She is a member of ITEM/CNRS Paris and has published widely in Romania and abroad. She is the President of the 21st Century Cultural Foundation and Director of the Secolul 21 periodical.
The Equation of Well-doing
Under the title The Equation of Well-doing, the author reviews her thoughts on Solomon Marcus’ personality on the brink of his 90th anniversary, in 2015. She ties the Romanian mathematician’s psychological insights to Paul Valéry’s thought, then illustrates Marcus’ civic involvement and concern with the formation of the younger generations from all points of view with a notice he affixed to the elevator door in his residential building, urging everybody to close it gently.
Solomon Marcus (1925-2016) was a mathematician and semiotician. He authored a great many interdisciplinary studies and books on mathematical analysis, linguistics, semiotics, poetics, anthropology, and philosophy. He published over 50 volumes in Romania, that have been translated into several European languages, and over 400 articles in scientific or specialty journals in Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Japan, and India. He was elected full member of the Romanian Academy in 2001 and has been recognized as being one of the initiators of mathematical linguistics and mathematical poetics.
Yesterday, March 15th
Here Solomon Marcus recalls an occasion in which he addressed the participants in the National Linguistics Olympiad, in an auditorium of the University of Bucharest, where he himself used to attend lectures and seminars in his years as a student.
This reprint of a text originally published in the earlier version of this periodical, Secolul 20, a couple of decades ago is an essay by Solomon Marcus on the impact of European football, or soccer, on almost every aspect of people’s lives. The awkward title refers to the South-American commentators’ reaction of enthusiasm when a goal is being scored. The mathematician and sociologist author describes the variety of metaphors and every day’s figures of speech that originate in the field of football, that is rightfully thought to be the „king of sports”. He also reviews his own experience with football during a lifetime that was long enough to cover several political regimes and underlines that, during the communist dictatorship, football was turned from a mere game into a matter of national pride. Several basic questions are also being asked as to the essence of football, that seems to become the essence of life: what is the inner logic of football? Which is its relationship to the world? Why are the rules of football such as they are?, etc. Such questions have also been asked in reference to other games, like chess, but their impact, when referring to football, is much stronger, since football comes up with all the components of the theory of conflict.
20 Questions for Luc Montagnier
This text, published in French, brings together twenty questions that were addressed by the mathematician Solomon Marcus, of the Romanian Academy, in September 2012, to Professor Luc Montagnier, a Nobel Laureate for Medicine. The octogenarian French scientist delivered a lecture then in the Rotunda of the Romanian Athenaeum. The Romanian man of culture, who was his senior by several years at the time, quoted a number of statements from the guest’s lecture and writings on a variety of subjects and questioned him as to their meaning or implications. For instance: was he attracted to science-fiction? How had he come to be involved in the study of AIDS and of the HIV-virus? Did he think that future was predictable? Which is the safe part of our actual knowledge of life? What is to be understood by the concept of 4P – preventive, predictive, personalized, participative – medicine? The questions cover a wide range of subjects and public matters of curiosity.
A Great Mathematician
This contribution in French by Solomon Marcus refers to the family of three Romanian men of culture bearing the same name: Traian Lalescu. The oldest one was an economist employed by the Romanian National Bank in the 19th century; the middle one, his son, was a mathematician of great reputation both in Romania, and abroad; and the youngest one, a grandson and a son, respectively, of the previous two, was a poet. The article focuses on the mathematician and his writings, on his career in Romania and in France, in teaching positions and in research activities, on his interests in practical questions and in theoretical matters. Through all his works, Traian Lalescu, who was awarded the French Legion of Honour, had an impact on the modern development of Romania’s history. By listing his name among its prestigious anniversaries, UNESCO has validated a life and a work that both do justice to European culture.
Mihai Şora is a Romanian philosopher and essayist. He was a student of Mircea Eliade at the University of Bucharest in the 1930s, then studied in France (in Paris and Grenoble) from 1939 to 1948, during which time he fought in the French Résistance. Upon his return to Romania, he adapted to the new realities in this country, but was later prevented from teaching, because his family had emigrated to the West. However, he was a major editor in the state-owned publishing system, in the 1970s. After the December-1989 Romanian Revolution, he has constantly been one of the leading figures opposing a dominant role of former members of the communist regime, a stand he has been keeping to up to this day, when he is well over 100 years old.
This short biographical presentation by Mihai Şora centers around the figure of Jacques Elias, a philantropist of Jewish origins, who was a counsellor to King Carol I in the early 20th century and who left his entire fortune to the Romanian Academy, stipulating in his last will and testament that it was to be used to build schools, soup kitchens for the poor, children’s boarding houses, to ensure scholarships to worthy pupils from families in need, to finance various activities of the Department of Medicine. The donor’s will also stipulated that a hospital of at least 100 beds was to be built in Bucharest, where sick people of both sexes and all creeds, including Jewish people, were to be accepted and treated free of charge. The Elias Hospital, thus named after Jacques Elias’ father, Menachem, was set up in 1936.
Liviu Ornea graduated from the Department of Mathematics of the University of Bucharest in 1984. Eight years later, he took his PhD in Mathematics at the same university with a dissertation on Geometrical Structures on Complex Varieties. Locally Conformal Kahler Structures. He currently teaches at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Bucharest (since 2004). He has published 70 works of research, a co-authored monograph at Birkhauser, the article on “Hopf manfolds” in the Kluwer Encyclopedia of Mathematics, volume XI, and a workbook of differential geometry for the use of students. He has attended specialized conferences in Germany, the USA, Japan, and Italy. He was awarded the 1998 “Gheorghe Ţiţeica” Prize of the Romanian Academy for his monograph on Locally Conformal Kahler Geometry, published by Birkhauser.
Professor Marcus’ Legacy
The author briefly reviews a book published by World Scientific in 2018, Mathematics Almost Everywhere, in which Solomon Marcus’ legacy is the common denominator. The book’s editors are three Romanian researchers of undisputable scientific stature, all former students of the mathematician. It gathers together articles and essays from three major fields of Mathematics: algebra and the complexity of calculus, analysis, and applications, which make up the three sections of the work.
Mina-Maria Rusu is a philologist and a PhD, Professor at the Apollonia University in Iași, Romanian-language inspector in the Ministry of Education, initiator of the Solomon Marcus linguistics Olympiad. She has published books on literary criticism, linguistics, and education articles. She moderated the conferences held by Solomon Marcus at the University Central Library in Iași.
Education – a Perennial Value in Marcus’ Thinking
Solomon Marcus has always lived with the feeling that the divine gift of the genius that adorned the destiny is not his, but of the country where he was born and where he has perfected his vocation. He lived with the feeling of the one who, by birth, was designed to lead Romania’s collective history step by step on an upward path that consoled the values of his people in the universe of humanity.
Valentina Sandu-Dediu graduated in musicology from the National Music University of Bucharest in 1990. She has been teaching at the same institution since 1993 (professor of musicology and stylistics). She wrote over 30 studies, 300 articles, and 10 books (see Rumänische Musik nach 1944, Pfau Verlag, Saarbrücken, 2006; Alegeri, atitudini, afecte. Despre stil și retorică în muzică, Ed. Didactică și Pedagogică, București 2010 / 2013; Octave paralele, În căutarea consonanțelor, Humanitas, București, 2014, 2017). She has authored series of programmes for Radio Romania. She also plays the piano in chamber music (CDs released in Romania with Aurelian Octav Popa, in Germany/ Neos with Dan Dediu, and in Boston / Albany with Ray Jackendoff). Valentina Sandu-Dediu was a fellow of Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, she is rector of New Europe College, Institute for Advanced Study Bucharest (since 2014), and received the Peregrinus-Stiftung Prize of Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Wissenschaften in 2008.
Music and Mathematics in the Romanian Avantgarde. Interferences with Solomon Marcus
Some Romanian composers, interested in building a musical avantgarde during the communist era (more precisely during the 1960s-80s), were fascinated by mathematics, linguistics, and logics. Their encounters with Solomon Marcus proved to generate interesting ideas, revealed by their original composition systems: Anatol Vieru’s modes issued according to set theory; Aurel Stroe’s composition classes and computer generated music; Ștefan Niculescu’s formants. I refer to these musical-mathematical structures, and to some confessions of Solomon Marcus about his meetings with music.
In order to complete the links between the mathematician and composers, we added texts written by Marcus as Preface or Postface for three books: Anatol Vieru, The Book of Modes (I), 1980; Octavian Nemescu, Semantic Functions of Music, 1983, Corneliu Cezar, Introduction to Sonology, 1984.
Vilmos Voigt (born 1940) is a Hungarian folklorist and semiotician. He graduated from and worked at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest). Retired university professor (professor emeritus), Founding President of the Hungarian Association for Semiotic Studies. Honorary Doctor of Tartu University (Estonia). Honorary Professor of Bucharest University.
Pragmatical, Syntactical, and Semantic Horizons of Solomon Marcus
The activity of Solomon Marcus can be described using key terms in semiotics. Pragmatics covers his development from a young mathematician to a world-wide known social scientist. As for syntactics, it labels his great capacity of getting known and working together with hundreds of fellow scholars. For semantics one can mention the major topics of his studies: mathematics, information theory, linguistics, literature, theatre, theory of culture. I singled out his interest in folklore, and the famous “canonical formula” by Claude Lévi-Strauss and I refer here to his close contacts with Hungarian scholars. Finally the term “horizon” signals that Marcus went to the end of his theorems – and beyond, as shown in his monumental book Paradigme universale.