International 
Commission on the History of Mathematics

Report on the Ninth Austrian Symposium on the History of Mathematics

"Mathematics—Picture of Reality or Created by the Mind?"

Miesenbach, Austria
12–18 May, 2008

by Christa Binder




The conference attendees: (first row from left to right) Michaela Chocholova, Hans-Joachim Girlich, Christa Binder, Annette Vogt, Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Jasna Fempl-Madjarevic, Peter Schmitt (second row from left to right) Magdalena Hyksova, Mrs. Girlich, Waltraud Voss (hidden), Sergei Demidov, Detlef Gronau, Mrs. Djafari Naini (third row from right to left) third row: Harald Gropp, Alexander Odefey, Menso Folkerts, Christina Phili, Katalin Munkacsy, Stephan Deschauer, Martina Becvarova, Alireza Djafari Naini, Rita Meyer-Spache, Gerlinde Faustmann


This meeting, on the theme of "Mathematics—Picture of Reality or Created by the Mind?," was held in Miesenbach, Lower Austria, during the week of 12-18 May, 2008. Organized by the Austrian Society for the History of Sciences, and sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Sciences and Research, the county of Lower Austria, and the ICHM, the symposium was comprised of the following talks and their speakers (for a copy of the proceedings volume—containing (short) papers or extended abstracts—contact Christa Binder at the following address: Institute for Analysis and Scientific Computing, Vienna University of Technology, Wiedner Hauptstr. 8–10/101, A 1040 Vienna, Austria; e-mail: christa.binder@tuwien.ac.at):

"Zur Algebra in den Rigischen Rechenbüchern"

Stefan Deschauer (Dresden, Germany)

"Hieronimo Cardano und die Inquisition"

Friedrich Katscher (Vienna, Austria)

"How to Fix an Election Honestly? Ivan Petrov Salabashev's Novel Voting Procedure in Bulgaria, 1879–1880"

Martina Becvárová (Prague, Czech Republic)

"Scientists of Tartu (Dorpat) University as Promotors of Research in Geometry"

Ülo Lumiste (Tartu, Estonia)

"Some Modern Ideas: Lobatchevskian Geometry through the Work of Vladimir Varicak— Croatian Mathematician of Serbian Descent"

Jasna Fempl-Madjarevic (Belgrade, Serbia)

"Das Geometriebuch des Kronprinzen, Augsburg 1689: A Hungarian Facsimile Edition 2001"

Katalin Munkacsy (Budapest, Hungary)

"Carl Friedrich Hindenburg (1741–1808) und die ersten Fachzeitschriften für Mathematik"

Hans-Joachim Girlich (Leipzig, Germany)

"Die Cauchysche Funktionalgleichung—eine kleine Gleichung ganz groß"

Detlef Gronau (Graz, Austria)

"Carl Friedrich Gauß' Verhältnis zur Musik"

Alexander Odefey (Hamburg, Germany)

"Fibonacci I & II, Demonstratio Musico-Mathematica"

Werner Schulze (Vienna, Austria)

"Tonalitätstheorie im Lichte der mathematischen Musiktheorie—über die Tonalitätskurve"

Milos Canak (Belgrade, Serbia)

"Calenders as Images of Astronomical Reality and Created by Mathematical Minds—The Special Year AD MMVIII (2008)"

Harald Gropp (Heidelberg, Germany)

"Zur Unterhaltungsmathematik im 17. Jahrhundert—Die 'Paradoxa' des Johannes Leuneschloss"

Wolfgang Breidert (Karlsruhe, Germany)

"Warum wurde aus Hermann Otto Hirschfeld Hermann O. Hartley (1912–1980) (When Hermann Otto Hirschfeld became Hermann O. Hartley)"

Annette Vogt (Berlin, Germany)

"Eine Provokation füur die russische Malerei am Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts: Die nicht-euklidische Geometrie"

Christine Phili (Athens, Greece)

"Wilhelm Matzka (1789–1891), Wien und Prag"

Michaela Chocholováa (Prague, Czech Republic)

"Mathematics and Physical Reality in the Discussion of the Vibrating String in the Eighteentth Century"

Sergei S. Demidov (Moscow, Russia)

"Reine und angewandte Mathematik in Dresden: Im Spiegel der 'Sitzungsberichte und Abhandlungen der Naturwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft Isis in Dresden' "

Waltraud Voss (Dresden, Germany)

"Die Faßmessung (Visierkunst) im späten Mittelalter und der frühen Neuzeit"

Menso Folkerts (Munich, Germany)

"Die Prostaphärese und Johannes Werner (1468–1528)—Vorläufer der Logarithmen"

Klaus Kühn (Alling, Germany)

"Geometrical Probability on the Turn of the Twentieth Century"

Magdalena Hyksová (Prague, Czech Republic)

"On the Reasonable But Limited Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences"

Ivor Grattan-Guinness (London, England)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Others in attendance were: Alireza Djafari Naini (Hildesheim, Germany), Gerlinde Faustmann (Wiener Neustadt, Austria), Manfred Kronfellner (Vienna, Austria), Gerhard Lindbichler (Vienna, Austria), Günter Löffladt (Nürnberg, Germany), Rita Meyer-Spache (Garching, Germany), Franz Pichler (Linz, Austria), Michael von Renteln (Karlsruhe, Germany), Herwig Säckl (Regensburg, Germany), and Peter Schmitt (Vienna, Austria).

The small village of Miesenbach, some 50 kilometers south of Vienna, provided a serene setting for the meeting, and the Hornung family, the owners of the Börsenhof where the conference was held, proved to be excellent hosts and chefs! In addition to the full program of lectures indicated above, which included Wednesday afternoon devoted to topics on music and mathematics and to practical demonstrations by the composer Werner Schultze, the conference participants spent Thursday afternoon exploring the spa of Baden. Extant in Roman times and very fashionable in the nineteenth century, Baden also gave the conference participants the opporunity to engage in some applied experiments in probability theory at its casino!


Conference attendees engaging in applied music theory.