‘The History of the History of Mathematics’: research symposium.

All Souls College, Oxford

Thursday 16 and Friday 17 December 2010

Mathematical histories have been written since at least the eventeenth century, yet on the whole there has been relatively little reflection on the trajectory which history of mathematics itself has taken over time. Nor has sustained attention often been given to the historiography of a subject which by its nature involves methodological choices and dilemmas different from those of other kinds of history. This symposium will bring together an international group of leading scholars to consider the history of mathematics as a cultural phenomenon in its own right, and to discuss both where it has come from and where it might go next, with papers both on particular historians and on particular historiographies.

Confirmed speakers and topics:

Sabine Rommevaux (title tbc);

Jackie Stedall, ‘A history of historical approaches to Thomas Harriot (1560–1621)’;

Rebekah Higgitt, ‘”Not a master of expression”: biographical treatments of Newton as a mathematician’;

Robert Goulding  (title tbc);

Philip Beeley, ‘The progress of Mathematick Learning. John Wallis as historian of mathematics’;

Niccolò Guicciardini, ‘The quarrel on the invention of the calculus

in Jean E. Montucla & Joseph Jérôme L. de Lalande, Histoire des Mathématiques (1758/1799–1802)’;

Jeremy Gray, ‘Mathematicians’ histories: reflections on histories of hard mathematics’;

Steve Russ, ‘The Human Face of Mathematics’.


Benjamin Wardhaugh

A limited number of places are available for observers: these will be allocated on a strictly first-come basis. The cost will be £50, and will cover attendance at the conference sessions, with tea and coffee, and at the conference dinner on 17 December. Unfortunately accommodation cannot be provided for observers.

To reserve a place, or for any enquiries, please contact Benjamin Wardhaugh at: [email protected]