The Continuum Hypothesis:

A Look at the 20th Century

History of the Real Numbers

from Cantor to Cohen/Scott/Solovay.

Martin Flashman
Humboldt State University
Thursday, March 16, 2000


After Cantor first demonstrated that the real numbers (continuum) were uncountable, the hypothesis arose that the set of the real numbers was "the smallest" uncountable set.

In 1900 David Hilbert made settling the continuum hypothesis the first problem on his now famous list of problems for this century.

Professor Flashman will discuss some of the historical, philosophical, and mathematical developments connected to this problem proceeding from proofs of uncountability to issues of consistency and models and finally to a discussion of proofs of the independence of this hypothesis.