Brouwer's notebooks

L.E.J. Brouwer (1881-1966) is one of the most notorious Dutch mathematicians. He is one of the founders of the field of topology, and he also originated the philosophy of mathematics called intuitionism. (See also the articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Brouwer and intuitionism.)

During the years 1905-1907 when Brouwer was working on his Ph.D., he filled a series of nine notebooks (mostly in Dutch) on a very diverse range of subjects. Currently these notebooks are in the Brouwer archive in the Noord-Hollands Archief.

These notebooks are the focus of the research of John Kuiper, culminating in his Ph.D. thesis in 2004. While working on this, John used photocopies of these notebooks. For his research he made some markings on these copies in pencil. For example, he numbered the pages in the top right corner.

This web page contains scans of these photocopies, as well as John's transcription and his Ph.D. thesis. The files of the scans are quite large, therfore for convenience there are also smaller versions (with less image quality). In the large versions of these scans, notebook VIII has been split, to keep the size of the files down (it has twice the number of pages than the other notebooks). The scans consist of 389 pages, of which 369 pages are numbered notebook pages, while 20 pages (6 in notebook VI and 14 in notebook IX) are lettered scans of other material.

Here are John Kuiper's transcription of the notebooks (and a ZIP file with the LaTeX source files of the transcription), and his Ph.D. thesis:

And then the scans. First the smaller PDFs. These contain 300dpi, 1-bit deep black-and-white images, and are on average 2MB in size:

For convenience, they are also combined in one PDF file, with all these nine notebooks in one file of about 18MB:

There are also two ZIP files, one with the nine small PDFs, and one with the 389 separate 1-bit deep TIFF files that were used to generated these PDFs:

Finally here are the large versions of the PDFs, with the images the way they came from the scanner. These contain 300dpi, 8-bit deep grayscale images, and are on average 50MB in size:

There is no version here of the large scans in which the page images are separate files, but with pdftoppm it is easy to generate this (it can even generate TIFFs or JPGs).

To show what the notebooks look like, here is page 25 from Notebook V, followed by a transcription of the second paragraph on that page:


Philosophie in tegenst. met wiskunde, mag zich bezighouden met intuitief gevoelde, en aan het geweten getoetste waarheden. Maar ook alleen als het geweten spreekt. Spreekt ze zonder dat, dan is ze gedaas als vrouwenlogica(1), tenzij ze zich bepaalt tot beschrijven zonder strekking, d.i. toch weer lyriek uit neven-centrum, of zich verwiskundigt – wat logica wordt, en nadert tot de bouwende wiskunde.
(1) geen haar beter, dan de redeneeringen der Kantische antinomieën; de frasen van Russell zijn van hetz. allooi