Research Paper On History Of Mathematics

History of Mathematics is a multidisciplinary subject with a strong presence in Oxford, spread across a number of departments, most notably the Mathematical Institute and the History Faculty.  The research interests of the members of the group cover mathematics, its cultures and its impacts on culture from the Renaissance right up to the twentieth century.

Core research topics include the place of mathematics in the transformation of intellectual culture during the early modern period (Philip Beeley, Yelda Nasifoglu, Benjamin Wardhaugh), the development of abstract algebra during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Christopher Hollings, Peter Neumann), and the effects of twentieth-century politics on the pursuit of mathematics (Hollings).  The group has a strong background in the mathematics of seventeenth-century Europe, with studies of, for example, the correspondence of the seventeenth-century Savilian Professor of Geometry John Wallis and of the mathematical intelligencer John Collins (Beeley). The current 'Reading Euclid' project seeks to understand the place of Euclid's Elements within early modern British culture and education (Beeley, Nasifoglu, Wardhaugh).  In recent years, members of the group have also been involved in efforts to provide the first sober assessment of the mathematical education and abilities of Ada Lovelace (Hollings, Ursula Martin) and the first biography of pit lad-turned-mathematics professor Charles Hutton (Wardhaugh).

Current students within the group are Liu Xi (history of differential geometry), Kevin Baker (the first readers of Newton’s Principia), and Johann Gaebler (the intellectual contexts for the reception of the calculus).

Others in Oxford with interests in the history of mathematics include Howard Emmens (history of group theory), Raymond Flood (Irish mathematics), Keith Hannabuss (nineteenth-century mathematics), Daniel Isaacson (the rise of modern logic, 1879–1931), Rob Iliffe (Newton and Newtonianism), Stephen Johnston (early modern practical mathematics and instruments), Matthew Landrus (Renaissance mathematics and the arts), Robin Wilson (nineteenth-century mathematics, and the history of combinatorics).

Some case studies of research carried out by members of the group may be found here, here, and here.


The group holds a semiregular departmental seminar, as well as an annual series of general lectures entitled 'What do historians of mathematics do?', held in Trinity Term.  Members of the group also organise a seminar in ‘the History of the Exact Sciences’ during Hilary Term (the programme for Hilary Term 2018 may be found here, with abstracts here) and a research workshop in early modern mathematics each December.  These events are complemented by Oxford’s wide range of activity in history of science, technology and medicine more generally.

Undergraduate study

Within the Mathematical Institute, the group offers the following undergraduate teaching:

Postgraduate study

The group welcomes applications for postgraduate study, which would be based either in the Mathematical Institute or the History Faculty, depending on the interests and background of the applicant.  Avenues for study include the MSc or MPhil in History of Science, Medicine and Technology, or a DPhil in the History of Mathematics.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact either Dr Christopher Hollings (Mathematical Institute) or Dr Benjamin Wardhaugh (History Faculty) to discuss options.

See also

British Society for the History of Mathematics

Topics in Mathematics

History of Mathematics

  • Abacus in Various Number Systems
  • The Abacus: The Art of Calculating with Beads
    History, tutorial, interactive pages
  • African Mathematical Union - Commission on the History of Mathematics in Africa (AMUCHMA)
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Newsletter
  • AMS's Materials Organized by Mathematical Subject Classification
    Electronic Journals, Preprints, Web Sites, Databases
  • AMS--MAA Joint Archives Committee
    Lists of Collections of Papers
  • Archimedes
    Archimedian Solids, Pappus, Cattle Problem, Maple
  • Archimedes and the Computation of Pi
  • The Art of Algebra from al-Khwarizmi to Vi�te: A Study in the Natural Selection of Ideas
    al-Khwarizmi, Diophantus of Alexandria, Cardano, Bombelli, Viète, abu-Kamil, al-Karaji, Fibonacci, Maestro Benedetto, Bibliography, History
  • A Bibliography of Collected Works and Correspondence of Mathematicians
    SOURCE: Steven W. Rockey, Cornell University
  • Biographies of Women Mathematicians
  • Le Boulier Chinois (French)
    History, Techniques, Bibliography, Lesson Plans
  • A Brief History of Algebra and Computing: An Eclectic Oxonian View
    Early English Algebra, Algebra and Analytical Engines, Boolean Algebra, Turing, Algebra of Programs
  • A Chronology of Recreational Mathemtics
  • A Completely Inadequate Bibliography of the History of Mathematics
  • Convergence – MAA's online magazine on the history of mathematics and its use in teaching
    History of Mathematics, Articles, Book Reviews, Teaching Materials, Quotations, Calendar of Events, Problems
  • Counting to Infinity
    John Wallis, Zeno of Elea, Georg Cantor
  • A description of the admirable table of logarithms by J. Napier (1616)
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Copy of book
    SOURCE: Department of Mathematics, University of Nijmegen
  • DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA - Extra Volume ICM 1998 - Section: 19. History of Mathematics
    DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA, Proceedings of the International Congress of Mathematicians
    Postscript and DVI readers
  • Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics
  • Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols
  • Elementary Problems and Chinese Mathematics
  • Emmy Noether, Mentors & Colleagues
  • Ethnomathematics
  • Ethnomathematics on the Web
    ADD. KEYWORDS: African mathematics, Native American mathematics, Math in European artifacts, Pacific Islander mathematics, African American mathematics, Latino mathematics, Asian mathematics, Middle Eastern mathematics, Mathematics and gender, Mathematics and economic class, Multicultural mathematics
    SOURCE: Ron Eglash and International Study Group on Ethnomathematics
  • The Euler Project
    Translations of articles, Opera Omnia, Riemann Zeta function, Series, Probability, Number Theory
    Ed Sandifer, Western Connecticut State University
  • Fibonacci - his rabbits and his numbers and Kepler
    ADD. KEYWORDS: History, The Golden Sectio - Aureo Section, Properties, Generating function for the Fibonacci numbers, Binet formula
    SOURCE: Keith Tognetti, University of Wollongong
    TECHNOLOGY: Adobe PDF Reader
  • Fibonacci Number-Theorists
  • Fields Medal
  • Front for the XXX Mathematics Archive - History and Overview
  • The Geometry of War, 1500-1750
    Museum exhibition, Gunnery, Rangefinding and Surveying, and Fortification, Troop Formations and the Telescope, Bibliography
  • George Green Homepage
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Dates outlining Green's life and posthumous history, Biographical notes, Papers, References, Archival material, Bicentenary Celebrations of Green's birth
    SOURCE: L. A. Wightman, M. J. Carter
  • Great Polish Mathematicians
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Warsaw School of Mathematics, Lvov School of Mathematics, Cracow School of Mathematics, Short biographies
    SOURCE: Institute of Mathematics, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Greek Mathematics and its Modern Heirs
    Euclid, Archimedes, Piero della Francesca
  • Hall of Great Mathematicians
  • Henry Perigal's Monument
    Greg N. Frederickson, Purdue University
  • Historia Matematica
  • Historia Matematica - Archives
    Archives of Listserv
  • Historia Mathematica
    Published Journal
  • History of Approximation Theory (HAT)
    ADD. KEYWORDS: People, Articles, Historical Papers
    SOURCE: Allan Pinkus and Carl de Boor
  • History of Compactness
  • A History Of Equality
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Robert Recorde, René Descartes, Recorde's symbol for equality, Competing symbols, Descartes' symbol for equality
    SOURCE: Andrew E. Young
  • History of Mathematics, David Joyce
    Regional, Bibliographies, Timelines, Hypermedia Exhibits, Books and Articles On-Line, Societies, Newsgroups
  • History of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Class Projects, Ahmes, Ancient Egyptian Fractions, Remainder Problem, Jiuzhang Suanshu, Jia Xian, Qin Jiushao, The Ta-Yen Rule, Counting Board Simulator, Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Bhaskara, Blaise Pascal, Euclid, Ada Byron King, The Countess of Lovelace
    Emy Noether, Alan Turing, Sundials, Calendars
    SOURCE: J. L. Berggren, Simon Fraser University
  • History of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin
    Rouse Ball Biographies, George Berkeley, Sir William Rowan Hamilton, George Boole, Sir Isaac Newton
  • History of Mathematics
    Collection of articles, Zeno's Paradox of Motion, Archimedes and the Square Root of 3, Bertleson's Number, Euclid's Plan and Proposition 6, Legendre's Prime Number Conjecture, Mayan Numeration, The Dullness of 1729, The Helen of Mathematics, Berkeley and the Infidel, Newton's Birth Date and the Anni Mirabiles, etc.
    SOURCE: K. S. Brown
  • History of Mathematics at USMA
  • History of Mathematics Sources on the World Wide Web
    Teaching Resources, Course Efforts, Site Reviews
  • Hypatia of Alexandria
    Bibliography, Sources, Books
  • INCUNABULA, HEBRAICA & JUDAICA - Mathematics and the Sciences
    List of Tracts, Joseph Solomon Delmedigo
  • Index of Ancient Greek Mathematicians and Astronomers
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Jules Henri Poincar�
    Biography, Chaos and the solar system, Arithmetic, intuition and logic, Philosophy of Geometry
  • The Jahrbuch-project Electronic Research Archive for Mathematics (ERAM)
    Database of the "Jahrbuch �ber die Fortschritte der Mathematik", Archive of the most important mathematical publications of the period 1868 -1943.
  • The Journey of the Four Colour Theorem Through Time
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Article, History,Philosophical implications
    SOURCE: Andreea S. Calude, University of Auckland and Mathematics Olympiad Learning Centre
    TECHNOLOGY: Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Legacy of R. L. Moore Project
    Biography, Discovery Learning, Moore Method, Conference, Readings, Pictures
  • MacTutor History of Mathematics
  • Marin Mersenne
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Biographies, Mersenne Numbers and Mersenne Primes, Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search - GIMPS
    SOURCE: Luke Welsh
  • Materials for the History of Statistics
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Classic papers, Portraits, J. Aubrey, T. Bayes, A. De Moivre, P. Fermat, G. Galilei, F. Galton, W. Gosset, E. Halley, C. Huygens, P. Laplace, A. Legendre, B. Pascal, A. Quetelet, T. Simpson, J. de Witt
    SOURCE: Peter M Lee, University of York
    TECHNOLOGY: Postscript reader
  • Mathematical Connections
    Journal, Mathematics and the Humanities
  • Mathematical Problems - Lecture Delivered Before the International Congress of Mathematicians at Paris in 1900. (by Professor David Hilbert)
  • Mathematicians of the African Diaspora
    People, The Ancients, Profiles of Black Mathematicians, The Morgan-Potsdam Model, Bibliography
  • Mathematics Genealogy Project
    Ph.D. Students, Ph.D. Advisers
  • Mathographies
    Biographies of Mathematicians, Maria Agnesi, Archimedes, Tartaglia, David Blackwell, Jerome Cardano, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Ren� Descartes, Perci Diaconis, Paul Erd�s, Leonard Euler, Charles Fefferman, Evariste Galois, Paul Halmos, Edwin Hewitt, John Kemeny, Sonya Kovalevsky, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Issac Newton, Emmy Noether, Julia Robinson, Mary Ellen Rudin, Jean Taylor, John von Neumann, Karl Weierstrass
  • Mathworld - History and Terminology
    Definitions, List of Theorems
  • Mesopotamian Mathematics
    History, Chronology, Tokens, Sumerian metrological numeration systems, Old Babylonian multiplication tables, Weights and measures, Bibliography
  • Network for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics
    Conferences, Publications
  • Newtonia
    Bibliography, Isaac Newton, Biography
  • ORESME Home Page - Ohio River Explorers of Sources in Mathematical Exposition
    Felix Klein's Erlanger Programme, Helge von Koch's snowflake
  • An Outline of the History of Game Theory
    Timeline, Bibliography
  • Randomness in Arithmetic and the Decline & Fall of Reductionism in Pure Mathematics
    Lecture, Hilbert, Formal Axiomatic System, Decision Problem, G�del, Turing and Cantor's Diagonal Argument, Computable Reals, Borel, Normal Real Numbers
  • SANGAKU - Japanese Temple Geometry Problem
  • SCIAMVS Sources and Commentaries in Exact Sciences
    Printed Journal
  • A Sideways Look at Hilbert's Twenty-three Problems of 1900
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Article, David Hilbert
    SOURCE: Ivor Grattan-Guinness and Notices of the AMS
    TECHNOLOGY: Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Some Famous Mathematicians
  • Teaching With Original Historical Sources in Mathematics
    Class Materials, Books, Articles, Bibliography
  • Thoughts on Ancient Egyptian Mathematics
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Article
    SOURCE: Kim R. W. Zahrt, IUSB Undergraduate Research Journal
  • Women's contribution to Mathematics
    ADD. KEYWORDS: Bibliography, Books written by women
    SOURCE: Mara Neusel and European Women in Mathematics
    TECHNOLOGY: Postscript reader

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