I am invited to give a plenary talk at ÖMG Meeting 2023 in Graz, Austria. This lecture is given on the occasion of receiving the OeMG prize in 2022.

Independence Phenomena in Mathematics: Current Obstacles and Scenarios for Solutions

The standard axioms of set theory, the Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms (ZFC), do not suffice to answer all questions in mathematics. While this follows abstractly from Kurt Gödel’s famous incompleteness theorems, we nowadays know numerous concrete examples for such questions. A large number of problems in set theory, for example, regularity properties such as Lebesgue measurability and the Baire property are not decided - for even rather simple (for example, projective) sets of reals - by ZFC. Even many problems outside of set theory have been showed to be unsolvable, meaning neither their truth nor their failure can be proven from ZFC. A major part of set theory is devoted to attacking this problem by studying various extensions of ZFC and their properties. I will outline some of these extensions and explain current obstacles in understanding their impact on the set theoretical universe together with recent progress on these questions and future scenarios. This work is related to the overall goal to identify the “right” axioms for mathematics.