## Report on the ICHM Co-Sponsored Session on the History of Mathematics
by Karen V.H. Parshall This session of ten talks was co-organized by Joseph W. Dauben (City University of New York), Patti W. Hunter (Westmont College), and Karen V. H. Parshall (University of Virginia) and took place at the Joint Meetings of the American Mathematical Society held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. The talks (titles, speakers, and abstracts below), each of which lasted a half-hour, drew audiences of between 50 and 150. ## "The Ellipse Seen from China"
The transmission of “Western” mathematics and astronomy into China during the seventeenth century consisted not only of the introduction of certain methodological tools but also of the integration of new geometric objects, the ellipse being one of them. This talk examined how the calculation of the circumference of the ellipse, for example, was dealt with in early modern China within the traditional mathematical framework, and how ancient procedures were rewritten to help in the solution of the rectification problem ## "The Other Book Nobody Read: Georg Rheticus and the Opus Palatinum"
Georg Rheticus is known to most of us as the man who encouraged his mentor, Nicolas Copernicus, to publish his heliocentric planetary theory. A strong mathematician himself, Rheticus led a tumultuous life that nevertheless allowed him to make important contributions mathematics, and especially to trigonometry. His ## "Communicating Mathematics in the Journal des savants (1675-1737)"
The ## "Problems of Infinitesimals: Descartes, Leibniz, and Peirce"
The connection between very small quantities (or infinitesimals) and the infinite has always been more troubled than the idea of the infinitely large (or transfinite). Almost all civilizations have been able to think about the infinite, even if they eventually rejected it on account of the difficulties that is occasions, including the many paradoxes associated with the concept, as was the case of classical Greece. Only some Pythagoreans dared to support an infinite universe without bounds. Among the mathematicians, the infinitely small, which was so useful for the infinitesimal calculus in the seventeenth century, was rejected afterwards with the assertion that there is only one infinite, the “great” one. But this idea was reconsidered by Robinson and others in the twentieth century. In philosophy and science, authors like Descartes, Leibniz, and C. S. Peirce have approached this difficult issue with various results. This paper analyzed their results. ## "Motivation and Context for B. Peirce's |