Thomas Forster from the University of Cambridge, UK – Semester 2 2016.
Where you have come from and what do you teach?
I have come from the University of Cambridge, UK, where I am a Director of Studies in Mathematics and Computer Science and a lecturer in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics. My teaching focuses on Mathematical Logic. When I return to Cambridge I shall be lecturing courses on Set Theory and Logic for the Maths faculty and Logic-for-Linguistics for the Linguistics Faculty.
Dr Forster (middle row, second from the right)
What interested you in being a Cambridge Fellow/Why did you want to come to UC?
I actually have dual British and New Zealand citizenship and I spend most British summers in New Zealand to escape Cambridge which is full of tourists and can be rather hot. I have been coming to UC for a number of years where I’ve predominately worked with the Department of Philosophy (I’m actually an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the Department of Philosophy).
Having previously been to UC as an Erskine Fellow I was delighted to be welcomed back as a Cambridge Fellow.
What have you been doing at UC?
I have been teaching MATH336 Foundations of Mathematics to undergraduates in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. The course is an introduction to the philosophy of mathematics, classical and intuitionistic logic, set theory and Gödel’s theorems. This is a 15 point course which I will teach for 9 weeks. I’ve personally benefited from teaching this course as I will be lecturing a similar course at Cambridge in a few weeks so it’s been a good opportunity to test the material on UC’s students.
What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
The chance to catch up with friends again both at UC and across New Zealand. I’ve made the most of my weekends visiting friends elsewhere in the country and also hosting people in the campus house provided by UC.
I have greatly enjoyed the reading group we have had in the maths departments on Nonstandard Analysis (don’t ask) something I have always wanted to get on top of, and for which there is a body of expertise here at UC. My final weekend I shall actually be spending at a Philosophy department retreat at Cass, a place where I have been on retreats before, and had a photograph taken of me posing in front of the railway station that Rita Angus* made famous.
*Rita Angus painted a famous picture of Cass Railway Station titled ‘Cass’ in 1936.
Dr Forster (front row, third from the left) pictured at the Philosophy Department retreat at Cass in September 2016