The HPM Newsletter 89 (July, 2015) is now available in


18 – 22 July 2016

Montpellier, France


Please put the dates on your calendar!

Dear colleagues,

I would like to take advantage of this newsletter to let you know that the preparation of our 2016 HPM conference is in its way.

As you may know, the 2016 HPM conference will be held in Montpellier France.

I have been working very closely with the local organizing committee, headed by Anne Cortella, new director of the IREM de Montpellier, and Thomas Hausberger, a member of the IREM de Montpellier.

Thomas’ research interests include number theory, history, philosophy and sociology of sciences, and education. Anne’s research interests include group theory, rings and algebras, and algebraic geometry.

A scientific committee will be in place very soon. More information on this will be provided in the next HPM Newsletter.

2016 HPM Dates:

The dates of the 2016 HPM conference are 18 – 22 July 2016. Please put the dates on your calendar!

Luis Radford

Université Laurentienne, Canada


 HPM sadly notes the passing of…

 Ivor Grattan-Guinness

(1941 – 2014)

 Jim Kiernan

(1949 – 2014)


 Dear colleagues,

As you may know, two scholars well known of our HPM community passed away recently.

Ivor Grattan-Guinness passed away on December 12 2014. Ivor was awarded the Kenneth O. May Medal for services to the History of Mathematics by the International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) on 31 July 2009, at Budapest, on the occasion of the 23rd International Congress for the History of Science. In 2010, he was elected an Honorary Member of the Bertrand Russell Society.

Jim Kiernan, of Brooklyn College, passed away on December 14, 2014, on his 65th birthday, after a long illness. He was often encountered at meetings such as HPM, JMM, MathFest, ESU, CSHPM, and ICME; served on the advisory board for Convergence ( during its early years; and participated in the construction and testing of teaching modules that resulted from the Institute on the History of Mathematics and its use in Teaching.

The work of these scholars will certainly continue to inspire us in our own work.

Luis Radford

Université Laurentienne, Canada


23 – 26 September 2015

Turin, Italy

NEW DATE for abstracts

We are calling for papers for this fourth conference to carry on the successful works initiated in Iceland (2009), and continued in Portugal (2011) and Uppsala (2013). Abstracts of proposed contributions (length: about one page with essential bibliography) should be submitted by 10 April 2015. The decision about acceptance will be communicated by 15 May 2015. Submission of abstracts, and later of papers, will be done via the conference website:


15 May 2015


After the Irish History of Mathematics Conferences at Maynooth (2011) and St. Patrick’s Drumcondra (2013), the 3rd Irish History of Mathematics Conference (IHOM3) will take place at Ulster University, Belfast on Friday, 15 May 2015. The event will be organised by Dr Ciarán Mac an Bhaird (Maynooth) and Dr Mark McCartney (Ulster).

Abstracts for potential talks (of 30 minutes in length), should be sent to Mark McCartney ( by Monday, 13 April 2015. See the IHOM1 ( and IHOM2 ( websites for details of previous talks.

In keeping with the relaxed nature of previous conferences, formality and costs will be kept to a minimum, and as such there will only be a £10 registration fee (payable on the day) to cover the costs of lunch and coffee breaks. Requests to register for the event should also be sent to Mark McCartney, no later than 8 May, 2015.

Turin, Italy, September 23-26, 2015

1st announcement

We are calling for papers for this fourth conference continuing the successful works initiated in Iceland (2009) and continued in Portugal (2011) and Uppsala (2013). Abstracts of proposed contributions (length: about one page with essential bibliography) should be submitted by March 31, 2015. The decision about acceptance will be communicated by May 15, 2015. Submission of abstracts, and later on papers, is done via the conference website:

The conference

History of mathematics education, since it became first visible internationally at ICME 10 in 2004, in Copenhagen, as the TSG 29, is meanwhile a well-established research area. The first international journal devoted to this field of study, the International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education, is published since 2006. History of mathematics education became a subject of interest in various international meetings, for instance at the ESU-5 (Prague, 2007) and ESU-6 (Vienna, 2010), at the CERME meetings, and at ICME 11 (Monterrey, 2008, TSG 38), ICME 12 (Seoul, 2012, TSG 35) and HPM2012 (Daejong, 2012)

The first specialized research conference, entitled “On-going Research in the History of Mathematics Education”, held in Garðabær near Reykjavík (Iceland) in 2009, turned meanwhile to a series of such specialized conferences. We are now organizing the fourth international conference, this time in Turin, Italy. Founded in 1404, the University of Turin is one of the most ancient and prestigious Italian Universities. Hosting about 70.000 students, 4.000 academic, administrative and technical staff, 1800 post-graduate and post-doctoral students, the University of Turin promotes culture and research, innovation, training and employment. The University of Turin has a remarkable research tradition in subjects such as Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, History and Philosophy, Law, Economics and Medicine. In the field of Mathematics education boast a longlasting tradition, including illustrious Maestri such as Carlo Ignazio Giulio, Quintino Sella, Giuseppe Peano, Corrado Segre, Giovanni Vailati, Alessandro Terracini, Guido Ascoli, Tullio Viola.

The themes treated in the former conferences were in particular (see also the Proceedings): Geometry teaching, Algebra teaching, Teaching of Calculus, Interdisciplinarity and contexts, The modern mathematics movements, Curricula history, Development of mathematics education in specific countries, Practices of teaching, Mathematics textbooks, Teacher education and Transmission and reception of ideas.

Everybody will have wide freedom of choice, but in order to stimulate research in areas that are less explored, new topics such as  “Teacher Journals” and “Teacher Education” are suggested.

We are projecting to publish peer reviewed proceedings.

Scientific committee:

–          Kristín Bjarnadóttir (Island)

–          Fulvia Furinghetti (Italy)

–          Livia Giacardi (Italy)

–          Erika Luciano (Italy)

–          Johan Prytz (Sweden)

–          Gert Schubring (Brazil/Germany)

With the scientific support of Ferdinando Arzarello, president of ICMI

Further information about the conference and accommodation in Turin will be available on the conference website:

Registration and conference fees

Before June 15, 2015, the fee is 160 Euros Euros, after that the fee is 190 Euros. Last day of registration and payment is August, 29, 2015. Registration is done via the conference website.

Proceedings of the ICHMEs

Paedagogica Historica, Special Issue: History of Teaching and Learning Mathematics, ed. by Gert Schubring, 2006, XLII: IV&V. [Proceedings of TSG 29 at ICME 10]

Bjarnadóttir, Kristín; Furinghetti, Fulvia & Schubring, Gert (Eds.) (2009). “Dig where you stand”. Proceedings of the conference on On-going research in the History of Mathematics Education. Reykjavik: University of Iceland – School of Education.

Bjarnadóttir, Kristín; Furinghetti, Fulvia; Matos, José & Schubring, Gert (Eds.) (2012). “Dig where you stand” 2. Proceedings of the conference on the History of Mathematics Education. Lisbon, Universidade Nova, 2012.

Bjarnadóttir, Kristín; Furinghetti, Fulvia; Prytz, Johan & Schubring, Gert (Eds.) (2015). Dig where you stand” 3. Proceedings of the third conference on the History of Mathematics Education. Uppsala: Department of Education, Uppsala University.

 Gert Schubring (Brazil/Germany)

Message from the HPM Chair


I am glad to inform the HPM community about the recent creation of a HPM Executive Committee (ExC). The creation of the ExC will provide HPM with a flexible structure to facilitate the preparation and implementation of the quadrennial HPM meeting and ESU as well as the planning and execution of other HPM activities, along the lines of inputs and recommendations of the Advisory Board (AdB).


Composition of the ExC:

The ExC is composed of the HPM Chair and four members of the AdB.

In order to ensure a convenient flux of information between HPM and the local quadrennial HPM and ESU organizing committees, two additional members from the Organizing local committees will join the ExC, as non-voting liaison members.

The names of the four members of the ExC, approved recently by the AdB, are: Evelyn Barbin, Fulvia Furinghetti, Jan van Maanen, and Costas Tzanakis



The mandate of the ExC is as follows:

  • To consult with the AdB in order to determine themes and plenary and panel speakers for the quadrennial HPM conference and ESU.
  • To decide about the quadrennial HPM and ESU conferences’ locations, themes and speakers.
  • To appoint editorials teams to organize the reviewing process of papers submitted to the quadrennial HPM and ESU meetings and the publication of the Conference Proceedings.
  • To help the Chair with various HPM matters, such as representation of the HPM in conferences, the Newsletter, inclusion of new AdB members, etc.


Duration of the ExC

A new ExC is created with the arrival of a new Chair.


In the 2016 HPM meeting, which will take place in Montpellier, France, the process of electing the Chair and the ExC, as well as the composition of the ExC will be discussed.


I would like to thank Evelyn Barbin, Fulvia Furinghetti, Jan van Maanen, and Costas Tzanakis for accepting to be part of the first HPM ExC.


Luis Radford

Université Laurentienne, Canada


HPM sadly notes the passing of…


Jacqueline Stedall

(1950 – 2014)



Paulus Gerdes

(1952 – 2014)

Ubiratan D’Ambrosio

(Translation: Sofia Gonçalves, Laurentian University, Canada)

Paulus Gerdes and Ubiratan D’Ambrosio

The world was saddened by the death of Paulus Pierre Joseph Gerdes, on November 11th, the day he would have reached 62 years of life. In a broad sense the world is deprived of a great educator, of an interesting and rigorous thinker and researcher, and a great friend for those who had the opportunity to meet him and be with him. Our condolences to the family and to his disciples, colleagues and friends.

My relationship with Paulus was very special. I met Paulus, in the mid-70s, a young man of just over 20 years. He was one of the first adherents to the ethnomathematics movement, which was being initiated; he became a leader in the area.

His life trajectory was very special. He was born in the Netherlands, in a traditional family. His father was the equivalent to a minister of state for religious cults. Paulus studied at the University of Nijmegen, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree (with honors) in Mathematics and Physics in 1972. He had a humanitarian mission experience in Vietnam, returned to Nijmegen, did a Baccalaureate in Cultural Anthropology in 1974 and in 1975 finished a Master in Mathematics. Still in the Netherlands, he became a professor in the “Centro do Terceiro Mundo”, with links with the liberation movements and the anti-apartheid in Southern Africa. By the end of 1976 he went to Mozambique, becoming a Mozambican citizen and creating a family. Since his arrival, he was a professor at the University Eduardo Mondlane until 1989, when he transferred to the Pedagogical University, remaining there until the end of his life.

In 1986, he completed a Doctorate at the University of Dresden, Germany, with a thesis on O Despertar do Pensamento Geométrico and in 1996 he returned for a second Doctorate with a thesis on Geometria Sona: Reflexões sobre tradições de desenhar na areia entre os povos da África ao Sul do Equador, at the University of Wuppertal, Germany.

As an academic, Paulus was responsible for numerous contributions to the theorization of craft and the formulation and solution of mathematical questions of the imaginary and folk craft. All his contributions have important implications for pedagogy with strong socio-cultural roots.

Paulus was one of the most important researchers on Ethnomathematics, always trying to analyze the historical and epistemological foundations of mathematics and proposing important pedagogical innovations. He managed to organize a very active group of young researchers, bringing together mathematicians and educators. The publications of the group, mainly in Portuguese and English, are an important resource for those interested in conducting research on Ethnomathematics worldwide. Many of these publications are generously available to all interested parties, for free or at low cost, in the publisher’s website “” where Paulus published almost all of his books.

In addition to academic activities of research, Paulus has always been involved with Education, especially Mathematics Education. The way he associated research and education is exemplary. In Maputo in 1989, he founded the “Centro de Pesquisas em Etnomatemática – Cultura, Matemática e Educação” and, thanks to his innovative proposals, he was very successful in attracting to Mozambique academics from around the world, interested in his research projects.

As a historian, Paulus Gerdes contributed significantly to the understanding of the history of mathematical ideas, theories and practices, in the African continent. His concern was to organize the historical context of existing practices and theories found in various African cultures. His main focus was a wide bibliographic research on the History of Mathematics in Africa. The results of his research have been crucial to mathematics historians worldwide.

His concerns went beyond identifying other Mathematical thinking models. He felt that creativity could be improved if cultural dignity was restored. The post-apartheid period in South Africa had many repercussions throughout the African continent. It represented a new and important space for the development of the creative potential of the native populations. Ethnomathematics proved to be an important strategy for the rebirth of African creativity and Paulus Gerdes was always extremely skilled at channeling that potential to form a numerous generation of researchers in Mathematics Education.

He was responsible for a change of attitude in regards to crafts and folklore. Crafts have been considered of minor importance in reflections on science and mathematics in the world, and its use in education have been neglected. Paulus recovered, from his search with artisans, the fundamental importance of craft as a basis for the historical development of mathematics. The most important primary sources for his research were artisanal practices. The research on these practices reveal the theoretical foundation of Paulus’ work.

Paulus Gerdes acknowledged that the culture of people, of artists, of artisans constitutes an endless source for mathematical research and Mathematics Education. Mathematics professors of all levels can learn, from their students, what is characteristic of their cultures. The students can show the way to achieve a practice. The makings of artisans, fishermen, peasants, in short, of all the groups that master a practice, are based on knowledge that has been developed by arduous paths, over generations. I emphasize in a very special way the exemplary attention that Paulus dedicated to women in the evolution of African cultures.

As Paulus Gerdes highlighted well in his writings and in his lectures, when studying a demonstration, it is rarely understood how the result was discovered. The path that leads to a discovery is, in general, very different from the paved road of deduction. In poetic language, Paulus tells us that “A via da descoberta abre-se serpenteando por um terreno de vegetação densa e cheio de obstáculos, às vezes aparentemente sem saída, até que, de repente, se encontra uma clareira de surpresas relampejantes. E, quase de imediato, a alegria do inesperado “heureka” (gr. “achei”, “encontrei”) rasga triunfantemente o caminho.”

In fact, Paulus was a poet in his thinking as a philosopher, mathematician, anthropologist, and educator.

To mourn a poet of life so dear to all of us and irreplaceable, I ask for help to a very beloved poet who also left us prematurely, Facundo Cabral. His farewell to a friend expresses very well my feelings.

Cuando  Un  Amigo  Se Va
(Facundo Cabral)

Cuando un amigo se va, queda un espacio vacio
Que no lo puede llenar la llegada de otro amigo
Cuando un amigo se va, queda un tizón encendido
Que no se puede apagar ni con las aguas de un rio
Cuando un amigo se va, una estrella se a perdido
La que ilumina el lugar donde hay un niño dormido
Cuando un amigo se va, se detienen los caminos
Y se empieza a revelar el duende manso del vino
Cuando un amigo se va, salopando su destino
Empieza el alma a vibrar por que se llena de frio
Cuando un amigo se va, queda un terreno baldío
Que quiere el tiempo llenar con las piedras del astillo
Cuando un amigo se va, se queda un árbol caído
Que ya no vuelve a brotar por que el viento a vencido
Cuando un amigo se va, queda un espacio vacio

Que no lo puede llenar la llegada de otro amigo.

Ubiratan D’Ambrosio

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