Petr Vopěnka

Petr Vopěnka 16 May 1935 – 20 March 2015 was a Czech mathematician In the early seventies, he developed alternative set theory ie alternative to the classical Cantor theory, which he subsequently developed in a series of articles and monographs Vopěnka’s name is associated with many mathematical achievements,12 including Vopěnka's principle Since the mid-eighties he concerned himself with philosophical questions of mathematics particularly vis-à-vis Husserlian phenomenology

Vopěnka served as the Minister of Education of the Czech Republic then part of Czechoslovakia from 1990 to 1992 within the government of Prime Minister Petr Pithart3


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Bibliography
    • 21 Works by Petr Vopěnka
    • 22 Works about Petr Vopěnka
  • 3 See also
  • 4 Notes
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Petr Vopěnka grew up in small town of Dolní Kralovice After finishing gymnasium in Ledeč nad Sázavou in 1953 he went to study mathematics at the Mathematics and Physics Faculty of Charles University in Prague, graduating in 1958 In 1962 he was made Candidate of Sciences CSc and in 1967 Doctor of Science DrSc His advisors were Eduard Čech and Ladislav Rieger4

Starting in 1958 Vopěnka taught at the Mathematics and Physics Faculty, since 1964 as lecturer, since 1965 as senior lecturer In 1968 he was made professor but was prevented to take this title until 1990 due to political reasons Between 1966 and 69 Vopěnka served as Vice Dean of the faculty

In 1967 Vopěnka became head of the newly established Department of Mathematical Logic The department was abolished in 1970 and Vopěnka, though allowed to stay at the university, fell into disfavour with the regime which limited his contacts with foreign mathematicians During the 1970s and 1980s he concentrated on philosophy and history of mathematics and on phenomenology of infinity

After the Velvet Revolution, in January 1990, Vopěnka became Deputy Rector of the Charles University Between June 1990 - July 1992 he served as Minister of Education of the Czech Republic then part of Czechoslovakia In this position he, without much of success and facing protests from the teachers, attempted to institute school reforms

In 1992 the Department of Mathematical Logic was reopened and Vopěnka became its head In 2000 he retired from the Charles University and the department was closed Until 2009 Vopěnka worked as a professor at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, in the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Science

Petr Vopěnka also participated in translation and publishing of early mathematical texts such as works of Euclid and Al-Khwarezmi into Czech language and then he worked at the Department of Philosophy and Department of Interdisciplinary Activities, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen


Works by Petr Vopěnkaedit

  • Petr Vopěnka 2004 Horizonty nekonečna Prague: Moraviapress ISBN 80-86181-66-9 
  • Petr Vopěnka 1999 Úhelný kámen evropské vzdělanosti a moci Prague: Práh ISBN 80-7252-022-9 
  • Petr Vopěnka 1989 Introduction to mathematics in the alternative set theory Bratislava: Alfa ISBN 80-05-00438-9 
  • Petr Vopěnka 1979 Mathematics in the Alternative Set Theory Leipzig: Teubner ASIN B0006E3AXY 
  • Petr Vopěnka, Petr Hájek 1972 The Theory of Semisets Amsterdam, Prague: North-Holland ISBN 0-7204-2267-1 

Works about Petr Vopěnkaedit

  • VIZE 97 "Petr Vopěnka Biography" PDF Retrieved 2007-07-27 
  • Akihiro Kanamori 2007 "Set Theory from Cantor to Cohen" PDF The Mathematical Development of Set Theory from Cantor to Cohen significant revision 
  • Jiří Fiala 5 October 2004 "Laudatio - VIZE 97 Award to Petr Vopenka" PDF in Czech VIZE 97 
  • Antonín Sochor 2001 "Petr Vopěnka born 16 5 1935" Ann Pure Appl Logic 109 1–2: 1–13 doi:101016/S0168-00720100037-9 
  • Antonín Sochor 2000 "Petr Vopěnka born 16 5 1935" Pokroky Mat Fyz Astron in Czech 45 2: 125–134 ISSN 0032-2423 
  • Akihiro Kanamori 1996 "The Mathematical Development of Set Theory from Cantor to Cohen" The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, Vol 2, No 1 2 1: 1–71 doi:102307/421046 JSTOR 421046 

See alsoedit

  • Mathematics portal
  • Semiset
  • Vopěnka's principle


  1. ^ "Petr Vopěnka Biography" PDF 
  2. ^ Antonín Sochor 2001 "Petr Vopěnka born 16 5 1935" Ann Pure Appl Logic 109 1–2: 1–13 doi:101016/S0168-00720100037-9 
  3. ^ "Czech mathematician, former minister Petr Vopěnka dies" Prague Daily Monitor 2015-03-23 Retrieved 2015-04-05 
  4. ^ Petr Vopěnka at the Mathematics Genealogy Project


  • Vopěnka, P 2001, "Alternative set theory", in Hazewinkel, Michiel, Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer, ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4 
  • Antonín Sochor November 1993 "Interpretations of the alternative set theory" Archive for Mathematical Logic Berlin / Heidelberg: Springer 32 6: 391–398 doi:101007/BF01270464 
  • various 1979–1990 "Papers of different authors published" Comm Math Univ Carolinae ISSN 0010-2628 
  • Petr Vopěnka 1989 Proceedings of the 1 st Symposium Mathematics in the alternative set theory Bratislava: Union of Slovak Mathematicians and Physicists ISBN _ 
  • Azriel Levy; Vopěnka, Petr 1984 "Mathematics in the Alternative set Theory by Petr Vopenka" The Journal of Symbolic Logic The Journal of Symbolic Logic, Vol 49, No 4 49 4: 1423–1424 doi:102307/2274302 JSTOR 2274302 

External linksedit

  • Short biography in English
  • Documentary about Vopěnka in Czech with English subtitles, freely downloadable

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Petr Vopěnka

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