The mission of the European Set Theory Society is to strengthen set-theoretical research and scholarship in Europe. Its primary function is to promote the exchange and sharing of ideas and results, to foster cooperation between different research groups through the mobility of students and researchers, to achieve a better awareness and appreciation of set theory, and to facilitate access to funding instruments and other resources. Although its activities are centred in Europe and the Associated States, the Society is open to set theorists worldwide, and its actions are carried out in cooperation with researchers in countries outside Europe and with bordering areas of research.
To fulfil its mission the Society engages in a broad range of activities. It organizes meetings, maintains professional ties with related organizations, provides assistance to collaborative research and training programmes at a European level, and maintains a web site with information of interest to set theorists.
Set theory was born in the late 19th century with Georg Cantor’s mathematical theory of transfinite numbers, and after its axiomatization by Zermelo and others in the early 20th century it developed into a general theory of infinite sets. It now occupies a special place among all mathematical disciplines, for it is both a specific area of mathematics and, at the same time, provides a foundation for the rest of mathematics. This means that all mathematical objects can be construed as sets, and the axioms about them can be proved from the axioms of set theory, which also endows set theory with a philosophical significance.
The unification of all classical mathematics into the single theoretical framework of axiomatic set theory is certainly a remarkable achievement. But beyond this, and more importantly, the ideas and techniques developed by set theory, such as constructibility, forcing, infinite combinatorics, the theory of large cardinals, determinacy, the descriptive theory of definable sets in Polish spaces, etc., have turned it into a discipline of great depth and beauty, with fascinating results that stimulate and challenge the imagination, and with numerous connections and applications in areas such as algebra, topology, real and complex analysis, functional analysis, measure theory, and theoretical computer science.
In the last years, European set theory has witnessed a renaissance with the creation of several new research groups and a substantial increase in the number of researchers. Further, the recent successive expansions of the European Union and the increasing funding opportunities for research at the European level have opened new possibilities for cooperation. In this context, the European Set Theory Society has been founded as an instrument that helps establish long-term collaborations among the different groups working in Europe and the Associated States, and aims to create a dynamic research and training network in order to ensure a leading position for European set theory and bring this subject to a higher level.