The Flux of Mathematics – How do Texts and Theories Travel Through Time and Space?
November 6 – 10, 2017
It is with this unifying goal in mind that the GDR “History of mathematics” of CNRS organizes its second Research School, with the help of CIRM (after a first School held at the same place in 2013). This instructional conference invites young, doctoral or post-doctoral researchers from France or from abroad to gather around the theme: “The Flux of Mathematics: how do Texts and Theories travel through Time and Space?” This question can engage all current research directions in the history of mathematics. It points to recent innovative work on the ways in which mathematical knowledge has circulated between different cultural frames via translations, on the adoption of old theories for later periods of the historical process, and on ways of communicating mathematics to various audiences, as well as on the physical support of this communication. The vivid portrait of historical mathematics in flux, which results from these analyses will be the focus of this School. It will address all aspects of the transmission of mathematics, including applied mathematics.
The schedule will largely follow the model which worked so well during the first School: three blocks will approach the overall subject from different angles. Each block will consist of one lecture course (directed to all participants) spread between two sessions of one and a half hours each, and three partly parallel workshops (typically planned for 15 participants each)
lasting one hour and a half each; with the latter devoted to hands-on work on specific topics.
At least half of the events will be conducted in English.
The School will take place from 6 to 10 November 2017, that is shortly after the Novembertagung 2017 in Brussels – see
Since both events appeal essentially to the same public, but have very different formats, participating in both of them may be a rewarding experience.
- Circulation of mixed or applied mathematics
- Euclid revisited by Grassmann and Hilbert
Block 2 – Passing on mathematics through teaching or training
Liliane Alfonsi (Université Paris Sud), Renaud D’enfert (Université de Picardie Jules Verne), Alexandre Guilbaud (Université Pierre et Marie Curie)
- Ancient (Mesopotamian, resp. Greco-Roman) mathematical texts and their (supposed) pedagogical context
- Mathematics and rhetoric in the modern era
Giovanna Cifoletti (Centre Alexandre Koyré, Ehess)
- How to reconstruct the career of a math teacher of the 19th and 20th century from documents in the French National Archive
- Circulation of mathematical knowledge through journals
- Encyclopedias, from the 18th century to Wikipedia
- Passing on mathematical knowledge through instruments