International Commission on the History of Mathematics

Report for the

Newsletter of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS)
Division of History of Science and Technology (DHST), September 2008


Karen Hunger Parshall (Chair) and Elena Ausejo (Secretary)



Over the period from 2007 to 2008, the International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) has 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 2007–2008, the ICHM has or will have co-sponsored the following thirteen events internationally:

  1. ICHM Special Session at the Joint Meetings of the AMS-MAA, New Orleans, LA, USA (January 2007)
  2. ICHM Co-Sponsored Session on "Some Current Trends in Research on History of Mathematics in France and Spain" at the First French-Spanish Congress of Mathematics, Zaragoza, Spain (July 2007)
  3. ICHM Satellite Conference on the History of Mathematics at the Fourth International Congress on Representation Theory, Lhasa, Tibet, (July 2007)
  4. ICHM-sponsored Session on Leonhard Euler at the Joint Meeting of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics (CSHPM) and the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM) in Montréal, Canada (July 2007)
  5. Symposium "In Commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of Euler's Birth and the 400th Anniversary of the Publication of the Chinese Translation of Euclid’s Elements," Chengdu, China, 12-15 October, 2007
  6. Session on "Leonhard Euler: On the Tercentenary of His Birth: Primary Sources, Rivalry with Clairaut and d’Alembert, and the Second St. Petersburg Period" at the History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Arlington, VA USA, 1-4 November, 2007
  7. Session on "The Peirces of Boston: Snapshots of Science in 19th-Century America" at the History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Arlington, VA USA, 1-4 November, 2007
  8. "Leonhard Euler's Tercentenary" at the University of São Paulo (USP), São Paolo, Brazil, 4-5 December, 2007
  9. ICHM Special Session at the Joint Meetings of the AMS-MAA, San Diego, CA (January 2008)
  10. "Mathematics: Picture of Reality or Created by the Mind?," Ninth Austrian Symposium on the History of Mathematics, Miesenbach, Austria, 12-18 May, 2008
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Conference on the " 'Unreasonable Effectiveness?' Historical Origins and Philosophical Problems for Applied Mathematics," Oxford, England, 16-17 December, 2008

Thus far for 2009, the ICHM plans to sponsor:

  1. ICHM Special Session at the Joint Meetings of the AMS-MAA, Washington, DC, (January 2009)

as well as the following four sessions that have been submitted to the program committee for the Budapest Congress:

  1. "Transmission and Transformation of Mathematics and Mathematical Instruments in their Social Contexts, East and West," organized by Joseph Dauben (USA) and Liu Dun (China)
  2. "Aeronautics, Complex Analysis and the First World War: A Case Study in the Acquisition of Status in Mathematics," organized by Jeremy Gray (UK) and Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze (Denmark)
  3. "Mathematical Analysis from the Eighteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries," organized by Craig Fraser (Canada) and Michiyo Nakane (Japan)
  4. "The Introduction of Modern Mathematics into Iberoamerican Countries," organized by Clara Sanchez (Colombia), Sergio Nobre (Brazil), and Alejandro Garciadiego (Mexico)

For the full reports on those meetings and sessions that have already concluded, 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 national representatives 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.