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"No subject loses more than mathematics by any attempt to dissociate it from its history." -- Florian Cajori


News & Events

 

I. Foley Award

In 2001 the National Board of Directors of Alpha Delta Gamma Fraternity voted to bestow the Foley Outstanding Education of the Year Award on Dr. Ronald Calinger. Nominees for this award are scrutinized by ADG chapters across the country before the final selection is made. The picture above has the ADG brothers presenting the award to Dr. Calinger at the Student Center on the Catholic University Campus.

II. The Euler Society

Founded in October of 2001, The Euler Society will examine the life, times, and work of Leonhard Euler (1707 - 1783), along with the impact of his discoveries on current research in the mathematical sciences and engineering applications. Euler ranks with Archimedes, Isaac Newton, and Karl Gauss as one of the four most eminent mathematical scientists in history. This international learned society will also contribute to current efforts to reinvigorate the teaching, learning, and wider understanding of mathematics.

For further information on its mission statement, executive committee, application forms, and first conference in Maine in August of 2002, please see www.eulersociety.org.

III. Good News

In January Manfred Kronfellner joined the grandparents' club. Welcome Sarah. Congratulations to all.

IV. Poem of the Month

This month's poem is an excerpt from Arithmetic, By Carl Sandberg.

V. Toward a New Biography of Euler: Historiography

As the tercentenary of the birth of the Swiss-born mathematical scientist Leonhard Euler in 2007 approaches, efforts are beginning to prepare the first full scale biography of him. Please click here (PDF) for an essay on historiographic issues.

VI. XXI International Congress of the History of Science Mexico City, July 8 - 14, 2001

International Virtual Institute faculty will participate in the 21st International Congress of the History of Science. Prof. Ulf Hashagen of the Deutsches Museum in Munich has organized a symposium numbered SC 9 with the title: "On the History of the Relationship of French and German Mathematics from the 18th to the 20th Century." The speakers and topics are:

Sergio Nobre (Adjunto da Unesp, Brasil): "Biografias de Matematicos fanceses en la Grande Enciclopedia Aleman des Siglo SVIII: Elementos para la historiografia de las matematicas"

Ronald Calinger (The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA): "Leonhard Euler's First Decade in Berlin"

Ulf Hashagen (Deutsches Museum Munich, Germany): "German and French Mathematicians in the 1870s and 1880s"

Norbert Schappacher (University of Strassburg, France): "Arithmetization: A Comparison of Germany and France from 1872 until the Wake of WWI"

Reinhard Siegmund-Schulze (Agder University College, Norway): "Maurice Frechet and the University of Strassburg in the 1920s: A Failed Attempt at Breaking German Dominance in Mathematics"

VII. "The Muse of History: Writing Biographies of Mathematicians" A Session at the annual AMS/MAA Meetings in 2001 in New Orleans

The iVI arranged and conducted this session at the AMS/MAA meetings in New Orleans on Wednesday, January 10, from 9:00 to 10:30. The first half of the session was chaired by Saunders Mac Lane (Chicago), and the second half by Manfred Kronfellner (TU-Wien). Please see a full description of the subjects and panelists.

           

Front to back: Saunders Mac Lane, John Dawson, Joan Richards, Joseph Dauben

         

The session was well received by the 150 to 200 people in attendance. Prof. Joseph Dauben spoke on the search for sources, especially for his Cantor biography, and the time reacquired to finish a manuscript. Prof. John Dawson related the challenge of arranging sources for his life of Goedel and the importance of keeping focused and not looking too far ahead to avoid being overwhelmed. Both speakers examined the mental health of their subjects. In the second half of the session, Prof. Joan Richards asserted that August de Morgan and his work cannot be well understood without considering his marriage and the role of his wife in his research. Prof. Calinger concluded with comments on the extraordinary achievements of Leonhard Euler in Berlin in institution building and the mathematical sciences, from infinitary analysis and the calculus of variations to lunar theory. The publication of Euler's correspondence in the OPERA OMNIA - IV is adding valuable insights on how he solved problems and worked collaboratively.

         

Joseph Dauben

John Dawson

         

The audience participated in a lively question and answer session touching on matters of the validity of sources, whether the historian chooses the biographee or vice versa, and the necessity of having command of the latest historiographic methods.

         

Ronald Calinger

 Joan Richards

Manfred Kronfellner

         

VIII. John Fauvel Remembered

John Fauvel died the weekend of May 12. He has been a tireless advocate of the integration of history with mathematics education. His two most recent books are OXFORD FIGURES and HISTORY IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION.

IX. Clifford Truesdell Remembered

Clifford Truesdell of Johns Hopkins University died in January 2000. He was one of the foremost experts in the world on Leonhard Euler. Please check the coming issues of THE ARCHIVE FOR HISTORY OF EXACT SCIENCES for a review of his life and work.

X. First IVI On-Line Course

The IVI offered its first on-line course this summer. It covered the history of mathematics from 1660 to 1930. (Please see History 638 for a general syllabus.) Mrs. Beatriz DelCastillo of Baltimore was the student. Initially she was to respond to three questions weekly from Dr. Calinger. But that quickly expanded to six to nine in a dialogue format. Beatriz wrote a review of J. Dauben's CANTOR and submitted her course paper on the study of binary numbers at the turn of the eighteenth century. Reading Latin and French sources, she uncovered an interesting exchange between Bernard Fontenelle, the permanent secretary of the Paris Academy, and Gottfried Leibniz. Fontenelle asked Leibniz to write a paper for the MEMOIRES for 1700/01, but when Leibniz sent a paper on binary numbers Fontenelle rejected it. The subject did not seem to be of sufficient importance to Fontenelle. Leibniz's paper was subsequently published by the Royal Brandenburg Society.


XI. A Colloquium in Commemoration of the 1500th Anniversary of Zu Chongzhi's Death

From October 10 through 14, 2000 a colloquium commemorating the 1500th Anniversary of the death of Zu Chongzhi will be held at the Zu Chongzhi High School Keyuan Hotel at Yesanpo, Laishui County, China.

Zu Chongzhi (425-500 AD) was a great mathematician and astronomer in the fifth-century China. He also had marvelous skill in engineering and literature. Among his various achievements, his main contributions to science and technology include the computation of pi, the calculation of the volume of sphere, the compilation of the Daming calendar (462 AD), and the invention of the south-pointing carriage.

Please see the First Circular, which describes the event and provides details on attending the colloquium.


XII. AMS/MAA Joint Meetings

Joint AMS/MAA meetings in Washington, D. C., January 19 - 23, 2000, Four IVI Sessions

Michael Monastyrsky
Moscow
     
Liu Dun
Beijing

 

   
 
Manfred Kronfellner
Vienna
   
Ulf Hashagen
Paderborn

 

The four IVI sessions at the joint meetings
were successful both for their substance and
attendance. They ran consecutively from 2:10 to 6:10 in Maryland Suite A/B of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The room holds 200 people. Our first session began with 230 to 240 people in attendance. All seats were filled and people were standing in the back and doorways. By session four, some people still had to stand in the back of the room. There was a large general turnout for the joint meetings. As of January 19, 3,965 had
registered.

Please see the list of topics and speakers of the IVI sessions, together with brief descriptions of the presentations.


XIII. An Historical Dinner


After a day of AMS/MAA meetings, Ioan James (left), Ron Calinger (center), and Misha Monastyrsky (right) enjoy dinner at a Lebanese Restaurant in D. C. Drs. Florrie Fasanelli and Victor Katz had arranged for the dinner that included eighty historians of mathematics from around the globe. Ulf Hashagen and Mary Ann McLoughlin from the IVI also attended. Among those present were John Fauvel, Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Fred Rickey, and Steve Schott.


XIV. IVI Members at Catholic University on Friday January 21


Drs. Hashagen, James, Kronfellner, Liu, and Monastyrsky visited Catholic University. They had lunch with faculty and Arts And Sciences Dean Suziedelis at the Center for Planning and Information Technology. Afterward, they spoke to Dr. Calinger's Modern World Civilizations class.
 

 
They briefly described where they worked and responded to questions about their countries from students. The class found the straightforward answers about life in their countries very informative and expressed their gratitude for the visit. Dr. Liu invited Dr. Calinger to visit China and speak to students. Before they left Catholic University, the IVI members briefly spoke with university president, Fr. O'Connell.


XV. New IVI Faculty Books in 1999

Drs. Calinger, James, Kronfellner, Monastyrsky and Struppa have published new books during the last year, which cover diverse topics.

Please see the publications page for more details.

   
   
               
       
   
 
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