Descriptive Geometry: its Role in the History of Mathematics and in Teaching
January 18-22, 2016

The purpose of this international
workshop is to explore the history of descriptive geometry in relation to its
circulation, which had been favored by the transfers of the model of the École polytechnique to other countries,
and the diffusion of its teaching, from higher instruction to secondary
schools. A first mean of communication among countries was the translation or
adaptation of books, but a relevant role is played by the journals and by
correspondences also. In addition to that we
want to analyze the influence of the institutions – similar but definitely not
identical in the different countries – on the field under consideration. So we
have three important aspects: the mathematical aspect, the aspect of teaching
in particular to non-mathematicians, and the institutions.

Recently, many historian of mathematics studied
this subject in the context of single countries, like in East Europa, England,
France, Germany, Italy, USA. It is now important to gather them in a workshop
in order to better analyze the parallel developments and the links among them.
It is also a way to more understand the relations between research in
mathematics and the creation of new teachings and schools in 19th

The results of the workshop will lead to the
edition of a book. The group of involved researchers represents around 15
countries. It will be a stone for the emerging history of the
internationalization of mathematics.

Organizing Committee

Evelyne Barbin (Université de Nantes)
Marta Menghini (
Sapienza Rome)
Klaus Volkert (University of Wuppertal)


Descriptive geometry in France: from the École polytechnique to the secondary school through the École centrale des arts et métiers

Descriptive geometry in German-speaking countries (1815–1915)

The teaching of descriptive geometry in Egypt (1837-1902)

Charles Potier: the origins of descriptive geometry in Russia

Descriptive geometry in England: a drawing or a mathematical technique?
Descriptive geometry in Serbia: small places, big ideas, and global phenomena

Descriptive geometry in Denmark

Luigi Cremona and Wilhelm Fiedler: Central projection as a link between projective and descriptive geometry

The early teaching of descriptive geometry in the United States (1817-1868)
Changing textbooks publishing, changing institutions and changing countries

Notes on the teaching of descriptive geometry in Portugal

The myth of the Polytechnic School