Date: 
Wednesday, September 28, 2005 
Speaker: 
Prof. James Lightner
Department of Matheamtics & Computer Science
McDaniel College
jlightne@mcdaniel.edu

Title: 
Remembering Howard Eves

Abstract: 
Meet Howard Eves, geometer, algebraist, analyst, and one of the
foremost American historians of mathematics of the twentieth century.
You'll see him via pictures, hear him via several tapes and videoclips,
and learn more about his remarkable life and contributions to
mathematics, often in his own words, taken from some of his prodigious
publications. Some personal reflections on the man will also round out
the presentation.


Date: 
Wednesday, November 2, 2005 
Speaker: 
Prof. David Richeson
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
Dickinson College
richesod@dickinson.edu

Title: 
Euler's polyhedral formula

Abstract: 
A polyhedron with F faces, E edges, and V vertices
satisfies the relation FE+V=2. This relationship was first noticed by
Euler in 1750 (and a modified version was known to Descartes in 1630).
Euler's proof turned out to be flawed. From 1750 to 1850
mathematicians tried to come to grips with this formula. Legendre,
Cauchy, Staudt, and others presented new proofs and generalizations.
Meahwhile, Lhuilier, Hessel, and Poinsot unveiled exotic
"counterexamples." In this talk we present the history of this beloved
formula up to 1850, while it was still a theorem about polyhedra and
before it became a topological theorem.


Date: 
Wednesday, December 7, 2005 
Speaker: 
Prof. Amy AckerbergHastings
Department of History
University of Maryland University College
aackerbe@erols.com

Title: 
John Playfair: The Mathematics of Correspondence

Abstract: 
I am currently preparing the letters of John Playfair (17481819) for
publication in the History of Earth Sciences Series of Scholars'
Facsimiles & Reprints. While Playfair is bestknown among historians
of science for his efforts to gain acceptance for James Hutton's
geology in Enlightenment and Romantic Scotland, several of his
contributions are of interest to mathematicians as well, including:
his influential 1795 edition of Euclid's Elements of Geometry, his
papers on negative numbers and on porisms, his formal and informal
teaching activities as professor of mathematics at Edinburgh
University, his enthusiasm for French mathematics, and his interest
in mathematical instruments. The talk will describe some of the
evidence for these activities that can be found in the surviving
letters to and from Playfair and will report on the process of
locating, transcribing, and editing historical correspondence.


Date: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 
Speaker: 
Prof. Sandro Caparrini
Department of History of Mathematics
The Dibner Institute
caparrini@libero.it

Title: 
The discovery of the vector properties of moments and angular velocity

Abstract: 
As a consequence of the new understanding of the general dynamics
of rigid bodies induced by the researches of Euler and d'Alembert,
between 1759 and 1826 several mathematicians discovered the
vectorial properties of moments of vector quantities and angular
velocity. Among those who investigated these matters are some of
the leading mathematicians of the period: Euler, Lagrange, Laplace,
Poinsot, Poisson and Cauchy. The detailed development of their
results gave rise to the establishment of vector mechanics at the
middle of nineteenth century. The study of the different threads
that make up this story yields new insights into the relationship
between mechanics and geometry.


Date: 
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 
Speaker: 
Prof. Alexander Jones
School of Historical Studies  Institute for Advanced Study
Department of Classics  University of Toronto
alexander.jones@utoronto.ca

Title: 
Locus theorems in ancient Greek geometry

Abstract: 
During the third century B.C. Greek mathematicians (including Euclid and
Apollonius) took a particular interest in locus theorems and their
applications in problem solving. A Greek locus theorem demonstrated that
a geometrical object (typically a point) having a defined relation to
given objects lies on a geometrical object (typically a line or surface)
that can be constructed from the givens. A classification was devised of
locus theorems, and construction problems in general, according to
whether they could be solved using only the postulates in Euclid's
Elements, i.e. straight lines and circles, or required conic sections or
special curves. An interesting question is whether anyone in antiquity
broke from this rigid conception of loci by defining a curve or surface
as a locus.


Date: 
Wednesday, April 5, 2006 
Speaker: 
Prof. Brian Hopkins
Department of Mathematics and Physics
St. Peter's College
bhopkins@spc.edu

Title: 
Königsberg: What Euler did and did not do

Abstract: 
Euler's 1735 work on the bridges of Königsberg is recognized as the
beginning of graph theory and is referenced in almost every discrete
mathematics textbook. Several show a picture of four dots and seven
lines and outline Euler's proof of the impossibility of what we now call
an Euler cycle. But the illustrations in Euler's paper show rivers and
bridges; the "dot & line" representation of graphs seems not to have
arisen until the 1890's. In this talk, we work through how Euler
actually addressed the problem, in addition to considering
correspondence leading up to the article and later work associated with
cycles on graphs.


Date: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2006 
Speaker: 
Prof. Harry Coonce
Department of Mathematics
North Dakota State University
harry.coonce@ndsu.nodak.edu

Title:

Tales from the Genealogy Project

Abstract: 
In or around 1995 we asked a question regarding who advised my advisor.
In this talk we will discuss how this query led to the Mathematics
Genealogy Project. We will present a look at the history of the project,
including how it was started and how it has developed over the last
decade. We will also relate some of the amusing  and not so
amusing  incidents along the way.

