Nicolas Bourbaki

Bourbaki was influential in 20th century mathematics and had some interdisciplinary impact on the humanities and the arts, although the extent of the latter influence is a matter of dispute. The group has been praised and criticized for its method of presentation, its working style, and its choice of mathematical topics.

Although biographer Amir Aczel stressed Bourbaki's influence on other disciplines during the mid-20th century, Maurice Mashaal moderated the claims of Bourbaki's influence in the following terms:

Our time is witnessing the creation of a monumental work: an exposition of the whole of present day mathematics. Moreover this exposition is done in such a way that the common bond between the various branches of mathematics become clearly visible, that the framework which supports the whole structure is not apt to become obsolete in a very short time, and that it can easily absorb new ideas.

Such an enterprise deserves admiration for its breadth, for its enthusiasm and selflessness, for its strongly collective character. Despite some mistakes, Bourbaki did add a little to 'the honor of the human spirit'. In an era when sports and money are such great idols of civilization, this is no small virtue.