Reflection about HPM 2016 in Montpellier

By Sebastian Schorcht

In the following, I offer my reflection about the HPM Satellite Meeting of ICME-13, which took place in Montpellier from 18 – 22 July 2016, as if it was an interview between my “past” self and the post-conference me. The past of myself is the Interviewer and the post-conference self will answer the questions.


Interviewer: Dear future-self, nice to meet you. I’m happy you have found a few minutes to answer my questions. I have many questions about the conference you attended. For example, what is your impression of the HPM Community?


Post-conference self: Overwhelming, familiar, scientifically-sound, and interested in cultural activity. The spirit in the community was overwhelming, upon first meeting each other. However, things seemed very familiar to me, when everyone discussed about the research experience. The researchers in HPM are willing to help each other in their work. They enrich their research work by comments from others. Besides this overwhelming and familiar spirit, some presentations impressed me with their carefully extracted hypotheses and logical organization, e.g., the presentation by Katz or by Fried, Jahnke, & Guillemette, or by Chorlay. Specifically, I will remember the dramatic presentation, a cultural experience about complex numbers written by Hitchcock, which provided us with a very nice afternoon.


Interviewer: It sounds to me like a fruitful conference in Montpellier. What were your scientific take-home message and/or social outcome about this conference?


Post-conference self: Perhaps there will be many scientific influences on my work. I can’t account for all of them right now, but I could make a presumption for you, my past myself:

I think there were many interesting ideas. For example, from Ewa Lakoma: she spoke about the concept of mathematical cognitive transgression (MCT) by Semadeni (2015).

The use of this concept to understand epistemological obstacles as forgotten transitions from a process to an objective view on mathematics expressions is a nice idea. Also, the ideas of Chorlay, who distinguished between mobilizable knowledge and available knowledge like Robert (2002). Chorlay enriches students’ available knowledge by meta-tasks, which requires reflection skills.

Furthermore, I obtained helpful database information. For example, the literature database Publimath in France (, the bibliographical database within the pre-conference document of ICME-13 (in Proceedings of HPM 2016) and the database within the TRIUMPHS-Project in USA (, where original source projects about algebra, analysis, and topology and others are available for undergraduate mathematics instruction.


As for the social outcome, I met a lot of new friends and hopefully will keep in contact with them. My past myself, don’t hesitate to talk to them, when you arrive on Monday.


Interviewer: Which painting or photo would describe your experience at the conference?



Post-conference self: That’s a difficult question, because there are so many impressions. I can’t summarize them into one picture. If I must choose one of them, I choose the one above. It reminds me of the moment when I was asked to play the part of the renowned scholar Gert Schubring, and had to speak English in front of a big audience. Coincidentally, it reminds me of Argand, the face of the HPM 2016 Poster and Mediterranean Area. Also, I am reminded of new friends with whom I acted in this dramatic presentation.


Interviewer: What advice do you have for me?


Post-conference self (laughing): An advice for myself?  Don’t miss the “swimming materials” required for the conference dinner!


Sebastian Schorcht

Justus Liebig University Giessen,



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