International Commission on the History of Mathematics

ICHM Montucla Prize 2009

The ICHM Montucla Prize is awarded every four years to the author of the best article by a junior scholar published in Historia Mathematica in the four years preceding the International Congress of History of Science and Technology.

Henrik Kragh Sørensen, of the University of Aarhus (Denmark),
is the winner of the First ICHM Montucla Prize (2005-2008) for his article
Exceptions and counterexamples: understanding Abel’s comment on Cauchy’s Theorem
published in Historia Mathematica  (Issue 32.4, 2005)

(See the report)



Also highly commended were (in order of publication):

Johanna Pejlare
Torsten Brodén’s work on the foundations of Euclidean geometry
(Historia Mathematica, Issue 34.3, 2007)

Benjamin Wardhaugh
Musical logarithms in the seventeenth century: Descartes, Mercator, Newton
(Historia Mathematica, Issue 35.1, 2008)


Montucla Prize 2013

The Montucla Prize is awarded by the Executive Committe of the International Commission for the History of Mathematics every four years to the author of the best article by a junior scholar published in Historia Mathematica in the four years preceding the International Congress of History of Science and Technology.

The EC of the ICHM forms a committee consisting of the two co-editors of Historia Mathematica and a member of the EC acting as Chair of the Committee. That committee, after giving careful consideration to the papers published in Historia Mathematica in the pertinent period by junior scholars proposes a candidate to the EC for its consideration and vote.

The EC of the ICHM is proud to award the May Prize for 2013 to:


Sébastien Maronne
For his article
The ovals in the Excerpta Mathematica and the origins of Descartes’ method of normals
(Issue 37.3, 2010)



Sébastien Maronne

In this article Maronne sheds light on the geometrical origins of Descartes’ method of normals through a close reading of two of Descartes’ texts from the Excerpta Mathematica together with the related parts of La Géométrie. The former, which were written prior to La Géométrie, deal with curves used in dioptrics (a branch of optics used in the construction of accurate lenses) which Descartes called ‘ovals’. The context for Descartes’ solution of the Pappus problem is relatively well documented, whereas the context within which the method of normals was invented and developed by Descartes needed clarification and this has now been provided by this paper. As a result of his detailed examination of the texts, Maronne provides strong evidence for a deep connection between dioptrics, ovals, and the method of normals. Maronne shows that in his study of normals Descartes remained anchored to the classical geometric tradition based on diagrammatic analysis. The article, which presents a new interpretation of the genesis of one of Descartes’ important ideas, is a substantial addition to the corpus of Cartesian scholarship.

Also highly commended were (in order of publication):

 

Jia-Ming Ying
The
Kujang sulhae 九章術解: Nam Pyoˇng-Gil's reinterpretation of the mathematical methods of the Jiuzhang suanshu
(Issue 38.1, 2011)


Victor Blåsjö
The rectification of quadratures as a central foundational problem for the early Leibnizian calculus

(Issue 39.4, 2012)



The next ICHM Montucla Prize will be awarded in 2017 (for the years 2013-2016).