The Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics

Paperback | March 10, 2011

EditorEleanor Robson, Jacqueline Stedall

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This Handbook explores the history of mathematics under a series of themes which raise new questions about what mathematics has been and what it has meant to practise it. It addresses questions of who creates mathematics, who uses it, and how. A broader understanding of mathematicalpractitioners naturally leads to a new appreciation of what counts as a historical source. Material and oral evidence is drawn upon as well as an unusual array of textual sources. Further, the ways in which people have chosen to express themselves are as historically meaningful as the contents ofthe mathematics they have produced. Mathematics is not a fixed and unchanging entity. New questions, contexts, and applications all influence what counts as productive ways of thinking. Because the history of mathematics should interact constructively with other ways of studying the past, thecontributors to this book come from a diverse range of intellectual backgrounds in anthropology, archaeology, art history, philosophy, and literature, as well as history of mathematics more traditionally understood.The thirty-six self-contained, multifaceted chapters, each written by a specialist, are arranged under three main headings: 'Geographies and Cultures', 'Peoples and Practices', and 'Interactions and Interpretations'. Together they deal with the mathematics of 5000 years, but without privileging thepast three centuries, and an impressive range of periods and places with many points of cross-reference between chapters. The key mathematical cultures of North America, Europe, the Middle East, India, and China are all represented here as well as areas which are not often treated in mainstreamhistory of mathematics, such as Russia, the Balkans, Vietnam, and South America. A vital reference for graduates and researchers in mathematics, historians of science, and general historians.

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This Handbook explores the history of mathematics under a series of themes which raise new questions about what mathematics has been and what it has meant to practise it. It addresses questions of who creates mathematics, who uses it, and how. A broader understanding of mathematicalpractitioners naturally leads to a new appreciation of...

Eleanor Robson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She is the author of Mesopotamian mathematics, 2100-1600 BC (1999), Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History (2008), and many articles on the socio-intellectual histo...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:928 pagesPublished:March 10, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199603197

ISBN - 13:9780199603190


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Table of Contents

Eleanor Robson and Jacqueline Stedall: Introduction1. Geographies and Cultures: GlobalG. E. R. Lloyd: 1.1 What was mathematics in the ancient world? Greek and Chinese perspectivesGary Urton: 1.2 Mathematics and authority: a case study in New and Old World accountingCatherine Jami: 1.3 Heavenly learning, statecraft, and scholarship: the Jesuits and their mathematics in ChinaKaren Parshall: 1.4 The internationalization of mathematics in a world of nations, 1800-19602. Geographies and Cultures: RegionalMarkus Asper: 2.1 The two cultures of mathematics in ancient GreeceJacqueline Stedall: 2.2 Tracing mathematical networks in seventeenth-century EnglandAlexei Volkov: 2.3 Mathematics and mathematics education in traditional VietnamSnezana Lawrence: 2.4 A Balkan trilogy: mathematics in the Balkans before the First World War3. Geographies and Cultures: LocalEleanor Robson: 3.1 Mathematics education in an Old Babylonian scribal schoolDavid Gilman Romano: 3.2 The archaeology of mathematics in an ancient Greek cityMassimo Mazzotti: 3.3 Engineering the Neapolitan stateDavid Aubin: 3.4 Observatory mathematics in the nineteenth century4. People and Practices: LivesSonja Brentjes: 4.1 Patronage of the mathematical sciences in Islamic societiesKate Bennett: 4.2 John Aubrey and the 'Lives of our English mathematical writers'Irina and Dmitri Gouzevitch: 4.3 Introducing mathematics, building an empire: Russia under Peter IMary Croarken: 4.4 Human computers in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain5. People and Practices: PracticesCorinna Rossi: 5.1 Mixing, building, and feeding: mathematics and technology in ancient EgyptBrian Spooner and William Hanaway: 5.2 Siyaq: numerical notation in the Persianate worldJohn Denniss: 5.3 Learning arithmetic: textbooks and their users in England 1500-1900Carrie Brezine: 5.4 Algorithms and automation: mathematics and weaving6. People and Practices: PresentationStephen Chrisomalis: 6.1 The cognitive and cultural foundations of numbersKim Plofker: 6.2 Sanskrit mathematical verseVolker Remmert: 6.3 Antiquity, nobility, and utility: picturing the Early Modern mathematical sciencesLeo Corry: 6.4 Writing the ultimate mathematical textbook: Nicolas Bourbaki's Elements de mathematique7. Interactions and Interpretations: IntellectualChristopher Cullen: 7.1 People and numbers in early imperial ChinaMark Thakkar: 7.2 Mathematics in fourteenth-century theologyBenjamin Wardhaugh: 7.3 Mathematics, music, and experiment in late seventeenth-century EnglandJeremy Gray: 7.4 Modernism in mathematics8. Interactions and Interpretations: MathematicalSabine Rommeveaux: 8.1 The transmission of the Elements to the Latin West: three case studiesNiccolo Guicciardini: 8.2 'Gigantic implements of war': images of Newton as a mathematicianJune Barrow-Green: 8.3 From cascades to calculus: Rolle's TheoremTinne Hoff Kjeldsen: 8.4 Abstraction and application: new contexts, new interpretations in twentieth-century mathematics9. Interactions and Interpretations: HistoricalAnnette Imhausen: 9.1 Traditions and myths in the historiography of Egyptian mathematicsKen Saito: 9.2 Reading ancient Greek mathematicsCarol Bier: 9.3 Number, shape, and the nature of space: thinking through Islamic artReinhard Siegmund-Schultze: 9.4 The historiography and history of mathematics in the Third ReichAbout the contributorsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Well written, well edited and well rounded... a healthy contribution to a burgeoning field of newly self-aware research." --British Journal for the History of Science