International Commission on the History of Mathematics

Report of the Activities of the

International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) in 2008

for the

International Mathematical Union (IMU) Newsletter

Karen Hunger Parshall (Chair)



In 2008, the International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) continued to pursue its dual aims of encouraging the study of the history of mathematics and of promoting a high level of historically and mathematically sophisticated scholarship in the field internationally. It has done so in the following ways:

Conferences /Symposia/ Congresses:

In 2008, the ICHM co-sponsored the following five events internationally:

  1. ICHM Special Session at the Joint Meetings of the AMS-MAA, San Diego, CA (January 2008);
  2. "Mathematics: Picture of Reality or Created by the Mind?," Ninth Austrian Symposium on the History of Mathematics, Miesenbach, Austria, 12-18 May, 2008;
  3. Session on "The Archimedes Palimpsest: A Symposium on Archimedes and Archimedean Mathematics in China" in connection with the twelfth International Congress on the History of Science in East Asia, Baltimore, MD, USA, 18 July, 2008;
  4. Session on "Case Studies in the Internationalization of Mathematics: Goals, Strategies, and Outcomes in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" at the History of Science Society annual meeting, Pittsburg, PA, USA, 4-6 November, 2008; and
  5. Conference on the " 'Unreasonable Effectiveness?' Historical Origins and Philosophical Problems for Applied Mathematics," Oxford, England, 16-17 December, 2008.

For the full reports on these meetings and sessions, see the ICHM's newly redesigned webpages at http://www.unizar.es/ichm/home.htm

Projects:

  1. The ICHM has completely redesigned and updated its webpages.
  2. The ICHM continues to compile and maintain a searchable database of information on historians of mathematics around the world.
  3. The ICHM has begun an e-mail list and regular e-mailing of its historians of mathematics internationally in an effort both to keep them more informed on the ICHM's activities than is possible in an annual snail mailing and to engage them more directly in the ICHM by encouraging them to report on events of interest in their respective countries.

Publications:

Historia Mathematica is the official journal of the ICHM. Under the direction of Benno van Dalen (Germany), Editor, and June Barrow-Green (United Kingdom), Managing Editor, the journal appears four times annually and comprises annually roughly 525 pages of original research in the history of mathematics from all times and cultures. It is published by Elsevier Science and is available electronically to subscribers of IDEAL.