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W. Hugh Woodin
Hugh Woodin.jpg
Hugh Woodin in 1994
(photo by George Bergman)
Born (1955-04-23) April 23, 1955 (age 59)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of California, Berkeley
California Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Doctoral advisor Robert M. Solovay
Doctoral students Joan Bagaria
James Cummings
Joel David Hamkins
Gregory Hjorth

William Hugh Woodin (born April 23, 1955) is an American mathematician and set theorist at Harvard University. He has made many notable contributions to the theory of inner models and determinacy. A type of large cardinal, the Woodin cardinal, bears his name.


Born in Tucson, Arizona, Woodin earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984 under Robert M. Solovay. His dissertation title was Discontinuous Homomorphisms of C(Omega) and Set Theory. He served as chair of the Berkeley mathematics department for the 2002-2003 academic year. Woodin is a managing editor of the Journal of Mathematical Logic. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.[1]

He is the great-grandson of William Hartman Woodin, former Secretary of the Treasury.


He has done work on the theory of generic multiverses and related concept of Ω-logic which suggested an argument that the Continuum Hypothesis is either undecidable or false in the sense of Mathematical Platonism. Woodin criticizes this view arguing that it leads to a counterintuitive reduction in which all truths in the set theoretical universe can be decided from a small part of it. He claims that these and related mathematical results lead (intuitively) to the conclusion that Continuum Hypothesis has a truth value and the Platonistic approach is reasonable.

Woodin now predicts that there should be a way of constructing an inner model for almost all known large cardinals which he calls the Ultimate L and which would have similar properties as Gödel's constructible universe. In particular, the Continuum Hypothesis would be true in this universe.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter W". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]

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31 videos foundNext > 

Hugh Woodin: Simplicity and the quest for ultimate (mathematical) truth

Simplicity: Ideals of Practice in Mathematics & the Arts Graduate Center, City University of New York, April 3-5, 2013 http://s-i-m-p-l-i-c-i-t-y.org.

The Uncertain Study of Infinity

Mathematician W. Hugh Woodin has devoted his life to the study of infinity, attempting to solve the unsolvable. Doing so does require some mental gymnastics ...

The Continuum Hypothesis and the search for Mathematical Infinity, W. Hugh Woodin

Does the Continuum Hypothesis have an answer? This question is pointed out by professor W. Hugh Woodin. He admits that 15 years ago he thought it was false. ...

The Trouble with Infinity

When you do math in your everyday life, you expect there to be a correct answer to your calculations, but when you're dealing with infinity, you can't even a...

Exploring the Frontiers of Incompleteness: Hugh Woodin

The "Exploring the Frontiers of Incompleteness" project is made possible by the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation, through a grant given to P...

Kai-Ju-Reviews: Mark Woodin's 2nd Place KMC Deck: Mono-Darkness Kalima

This is an in depth review of my deck and some insight to the strategies that I had behind it. This deck led me to get second place at the New Holland, PA KM...

What are the limits of mathematical explanation? An interview with David Charles McCarty

Professor David Charles McCarty interviewed by Piotr Urbańczyk. Professor McCarty conducts research on the foundations of mathematics and logic, early analyt...

Problem umysł-ciało, Mateusz Hohol

Wielu myślicieli uważa, że filozofia umysłu stała się obecnie najważniejszą dyscypliną filozoficzną. Punktem wyjścia do rozważań nad problemami związanymi z ...

Math is Understanding, the Continuum hypothesis and computational proof.

Cool Math, Math is Understanding, the Continuum hypothesis and computational proof http://youtu.be/ekZrJ9jjNXQ Math is understanding Math relies on understan...

Continuum Hypothesis, Relativity, and Cosmology

I speculate on some possible parallels between the Continuum Hypothesis and ideas in Physics. I also suggest an olive branch to those who disagree with the C...

31 videos foundNext > 

2 news items

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:22:30 -0800

Does the Continuum Hypothesis have an answer? This question is pointed out by professor W. Hugh Woodin. He admits that 15 years ago he thought it was false. Has his opinion changed? You can see from this lecture. William Hugh Woodin is an American ...
Science World Report
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 14:00:59 -0700

Infinity (May 31 at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts) - Featuring W. Hugh Woodin from UC-Berkeley, this looks at a subject extensively studied by philosophers, mathematicians, and - more recently - physicists and cosmologists. Through an ...

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