The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 14

xii Elaine McKinnon Riehm American tradition and partnerships with private industry. He discovered, however, that Canadians were not then inclined to donate generously to scientific research in the manner of Andrew Carnegie and that Canadian industries were not inclined to establish research laboratories such as that of Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York. Fields’ conclusion was that scientific research in Canada would have to depend on the largesse of provincial and federal governments and that scientists must therefore develop persuasive arguments on behalf of science. It was said that Fields was tiresome on the subject of the responsibility of governments to support science. In the summer of 1914, on board the S.S. Orvieto with a large cohort of scientists heading to Australia for meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Fields sat at dinner one night next to Scottish mathematician J.E.A. Steggall, who recorded rather grumpily in his diary, “Professor Fields sat by me and harangued about the endowment of research: he seems to think that governments should make no limit to their expenditure in this direction.” 1 In 1906, John Charles Fields published the first mathematical research monograph by a Canadian mathematician. Because no Canadian printer at the time could typeset the mathematics, his book was published in Sweden with the help of his friend Gösta Mittag-Leffler. Entitled the Theory of the Algebraic Functions of a Complex Variable, it drew acclaim in the Canadian press, although always with the disclaimer that the non-mathematical reviewer had not understood it. More widely, however, it received only modest notice in mathematical reviews, likely because the techniques Fields used were already being surpassed by modern mathematics. Still, his book earned 1 My thanks to Frances Hoffman for her discovery of the J.E.A. Steggall diary in the Mitchell Library, City of Glasgow Archives.