International 
Commission on the History of Mathematics

Report to the International Mathematical Union: 1999-May 2002

Karen Hunger Parshall, Chair and Jan P. Hogendijk, Secretary

The members of the Executive Committee (EC):

From 1999 through 2001, the members of the EC of the ICHM were: Kirsti Andersen (Denmark), Chair; Craig Fraser (Canada), Vice Chair; Jeanne Peiffer (France), Secretary; Menso Folkerts (Germany), Treasurer; Natalja Ermolaeva (Russia); Alejandro Garçiadiego (Mexico); Mariano Hormigón (Spain); Giorgio Israel (Italy); LIU Dun (China); SASAKI Chikara (Japan). IMU representatives were: Karen Hunger Parshall (United States) and Jan P. Hogendijk (The Netherlands). Ex officio members were: Joseph W. Dauben (United States); Eberhard Knobloch (Germany); and Christoph Scriba (Germany).

The EC's current (2002-2005) members are: Karen Hunger Parshall (United States), Chair; Craig Fraser (Canada), Vice Chair; Jan P. Hogendijk (The Netherlands), Secretary; Menso Folkerts (Germany), Treasurer; Natalja Ermolaeva (Russia); Alejandro Garçiadiego (Mexico); Mariano Hormigón (Spain); Giorgio Israel (Italy); QU Anjing (China); SASAKI Chikara (Japan). Ex officio members are: Kirsti Andersen (Denmark); Joseph W. Dauben (United States); Eberhard Knobloch (Germany); and Christoph Scriba (Germany).

At present there are two vacanies on the EC for IMU representatives. The EC has proposed the names of Ahmed Djebbar (Algeria and France) and Jeremy Gray (United Kingdom) to the IMU to fill these vacancies.

Meetings of the EC:

The EC met at regular intervals from 1999 through 2001 with face-to-face meetings of a small percentage of the membership at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathematiques in Luminy, France in 1999, at the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut in Oberwolfach, Germany in 2000, and at the XXIst International Congress of History of Science in Mexico City, Mexico in 2001. Beginning in 2002, the EC adopted a new meeting policy. It meets at least four times yearly via e-mail to discuss matters of interest to the international history of mathematics community. Its first two e-meetings of 2002 have already taken place. When feasible, it will have face-to-face meetings, although our experience has been that the reliance on face-to-face meetings has tended to render the EC a less democratic body than we would like it to be.

Conferences /Symposia/ Congresses:

From 1999 through 2001, members of the ICHM contributed to or organized numerous conferences, symposia, and congresses internationally. Examples include: Special Sessions at the annual joint meetings of the American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America (United States) (1999, 2000, 2001); the conference "Mathematics and Culture: New Tendencies in Ethnomathematics and the History of Mathematics" (Canary Islands) (1999); the symposium "Methods in the History of Mathematics" at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathematiques, Luminy (France) (1999); the VIème Colloque Maghrebin sur l'Histoire des Mathématiques Arabes (Algeria) (2000); the conference "2000 Years of Transmission of Mathematical Ideas" (Italy) (2000); the symposium "The History of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century" at the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut, Oberwolfach (Germany) (2000); the conference "Certainty, Doubt, Error: Knowledge Production and its Impediments in the Practice of Pre- and Early-Modern Science" (Germany) (2001); the "International Conference of the New Millennium on the History of Mathematics" (India) (2001); and the XXIst International Congress of History of Science (Mexico City) (2001).

Projects:

  1. The ICHM, in cooperation with the American Mathematical Society, produced the CD-ROM edition by Albert C. Lewis (United States) of Joseph W. Dauben's (United States) The History of Mathematics from Antiquity to the Present: A Selective Annotated Bibliography (ISBN 0-8218-0844-3). The CD-ROM, which appeared in 2000, has already won an award from the reviewing body, Choice.
  2. The ICHM has sponsored and coordinated an edition on the historiography of the history of mathematics currently in production at Birkhäuser Verlag. This massive volume, edited by Joseph W. Dauben (United States) and Christoph Scriba (Germany), represents a truly international collaboration with individual chapters authored by upward of twenty historians on the development of the history of mathematics in countries around the world.
  3. The ICHM has mounted and is maintaining a webpage of its activities and of matters of interest to historians of mathematics internationally. See the ICHM's webpages.
  4. The ICHM is presently compiling a database of information on historians of mathematics around the world.

Publications:

  1. Historia Mathematica is the official journal of the ICHM. It appears four times annually and publishes roughly 500 pages of original research in the history of mathematics from all times and cultures. Edited from 1996 through 1999 by Karen Hunger Parshall (United States) and Jan P. Hogendijk (The Netherlands), it has been edited since 2000 by Craig Fraser (Canada) and Umberto Bottazzini (Italy). The journal, published by Academic Press through 2001, is now being published by Elsevier Science and is available electronically to subscribers of IDEAL.
  2. Beginning in 2002, the Chair and Secretary of the ICHM will prepare a yearly Newsletter to update the members of the ICHM on the Commission's activities. The Newsletter will also be made available to the public on the ICHM's website.
  3. Once a year, the Chair and the Secretary of the EC send a report on the scientific activities of the ICHM to Jacob Palis (Brazil), Secretary of the IMU. These reports are published in the Bulletin of the International Mathematical Union, and also on this website.

Medals:

In 2001, the Kenneth O. May Prize for Excellence in the History of Mathematics was awarded for the fourth time to Ubiratan D'Ambrosio (Brazil) and Lam Lay Yong (Singapore). D'Ambrosio received his medal at the XXIst International Congress of the History of Science in Mexico City, Mexico in 2001; Lam Lay Yong will receive her medal at ICM '02 in Beijing, China.