Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
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.
Université Laurentienne, Canada
In this brief note, I would like to provide you with an update of the ongoing preparation of the HPM 2016 Conference, and the Proceedings Initiative that aims at making our HPM proceedings available electronically.
I am happy to report that the preparation for the HPM 2016 conference has started. It is my pleasure to announce that HPM 2016 will take place at the Université Montpellier 2, France, where the IREM (Institut de Recherche sur l’Enseignement des Mathématiques) is located. I am grateful to Evelyn Barbin for her help in putting us in contact with the IREM network and in particular with Professor Nicolas Saby, chair of IREM of Montpellier.
Concerning the dates of the conference, we are making an effort to avoid overlaps with other major events. Although we are still working on the details, for the moment the date that seems to be the best is the week of July 18, 2016. We will keep you informed.
Here is a short description of the hosting institution.
Rich from its past and its heritage, as well as from the lifeblood stemming from today’s laboratories, the Université Montpellier 2 is a university of intensive research which activities cover a wide range of subjects:
* Health and Agronomy Biology;
* Biodiversity and Ecology;
* Evolution and Environment;
* Chemistry, Earth and Water Sciences;
* Mechanical Engineering;
* Mathematics and Computer Sciences;
* Management and Education Sciences
In 1808, Napoleon 1st founded the Science Faculty of Montpellier. Today, the University offers diversified and complementary courses, leading to 230 degree programmes from learning to in-service training, where students of 115 nationalities are welcomed.
Approximately 4000 staff participate in the life of the establishment. The University enrolls 16 500 students. The university is also famous for its 10 large collections of botany (second herbarium of France), paleontology, zoology, and mineralogy.
The IREM of Montpellier is a department of the Science Faculty of the Université Montpellier 2. It was created in 1969 to:
* Lead research on mathematics teaching;
* Contribute to the initial and in-service training of teachers;
* Develop and publish documents for teachers and trainers;
* Contribute to pedagogical experimentation.
The IREM of Montpellier has an important experience in organizing national and international meetings. For instance, the IREM of Montpellier organized a national IREM-Colloquium on Epistemology and History of Mathematics in 1985, as well as the First European Summer University “Epistemology and History in Education of Mathematics” (ESU) in 1993.
The HPM Proceedings Initiative
I would also like to report that we are in communication with ICMI administrators to continue uploading the proceedings of past conferences. I have received a PDF version of the HPM 2012 Conference from Professor Sung Sook Kim, of Paichai University in South Korea. The electronic copy of the proceedings will be available soon. For the time being the Proceedings of HPM 2004 (Uppsala) Conference are already online, thanks to the efforts of Fulvia Furinghetti, Costas Tzanakis, and Sten Kaijser (http://www.mathunion.org/icmi/digital-library/aos-conferences/)
I take advantage of this message to remind you that information concerning the forthcoming ESU-7 conference, to be held in Denmark this summer, is available in our site (http://www.clab.edc.uoc.gr/hpm/Meetings.htm).
14-18 July 2014
Campus Emdrup, Copenhagen, Denmark
The initiative of organizing a Summer University on the History and Epistemology in Mathematics Education was undertaken originally by the French Mathematics Education community in the early 1980’s. From those meetings emerged the Summer University on a European scale, as the European Summer University (ESU) on the History and Epistemology in Mathematics Education, the first one taking place in 1993. Since then, the ESU was successfully organized in 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2010 in different places in Europe: Montpellier (France), Braga (Portugal), Louvain-la-Neuve and Leuven (Belgium), Uppsala (Sweden), Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria).
Since then, the ESU has been established into one of the main international activities of the HPM Group, which – from 2010 onwards – will be organized every four years. This means that every two years the HPM meetings will have at least one major international meeting of the Group; namely, the ESU will alternate with the HPM Satellite Meetings of ICME.
1. Aim and focus of the ESU
See HPM Newsletter 83.
2. Main themes of ESU-7
See HPM Newsletter 83.
3. Activities during ESU 7
See HPM Newsletter 83.
4. Target population
See HPM Newsletter 83.
5. Time and place
The 7th ESU will take place from Monday 14 to Friday 18 July 2014 at the Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup (Copenhagen), Denmark.
The campus is located in Copenhagen, only 10 minutes from the city centre and 25 minutes from the international airport.
From the airport, take the metro to Nørreport station and change to the S-train, line A, which will take you to Emdrup station. The Campus is located directly next to the station. See Google map at conference website, where other maps for important directions will also be available.
The address of the conference site: Department of Education, Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 København NV.
6. Official Languages
See HPM Newsletter 83.
7. Submission of proposals
31. December, 2013: abstracts of proposals for workshops and oral presentations.
30. April, 2014: abstracts for posters.
Notification of acceptance of presentation will happen within a month after these deadlines.
Important: please, use the application form on the website and send it in electronic form to:
Evelyne Barbin, Chair of the ESU7:
Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen, Co-chair:
Uffe Thomas Jankvist, Co-chair:
The members of the Scientific Program Committee (SPC) will review the submitted abstracts. At this stage, acceptance of a proposal means that the proposed activity will be included in the ESU-7 Scientific Programme. However, this does not imply that a full text based on this activity will automatically be included in the ESU-7 Proceedings, which are going to be published after the ESU. Full texts will be further reviewed by members of the SPC, using the usual international standards. For more details, see Proceedings, §10 below.
8. The (international) Scientific Program Committee (SPC) and The Local Organizing Committee (LOC)
See HPM Newsletter 83.
9. The web site
Making known the ESU in various countries (in Europe and beyond) is a major task to be realized by the SPC. To this end, the website of ESU is a very efficient tool. Online registration, etc. will be operating soon at the website:
See HPM Newsletter 83.
Theme 1: Evelyne Barbin, University of Nantes (France)
The implicit epistemology of mathematics history and education: thirty years after Hans Freudenthal.
Themes 2 & 3: Adriano Dematte, Universirty of Genoa (Italy)
History in the classroom: educational opportunities and open questions.
Theme 4: Cécile de Hosson, University Paris 7 (France)
Promoting an interdisciplinary teaching through the use of elements of Greek and Chinese early cosmologies.
Theme 5: Kristin Bjarnadottir, University of Iceland (Iceland)
Calendars and currency – embedded in culture, nature, society and language.
Theme 6: Gert Schubring , University of Bielefeld (RFA) and UFRJ (Brazil)
New approaches and results in the history of teaching and learning mathematics.
Theme 7: Bjarne Toft, University of Sothern Denmark (Denmark)
Julius Petersen and James Joseph Sylvester – the emergence of graph theory.
Panel 1: History and philosophy of mathematics, technics and technology in mathematics education (organizer: Morten Misfeld, Aalborg University, Denmark).
Panel 2: The question of evaluation and assessment of experiences with introducing history of mathematics in the classroom (organizer: Leo Rogers, Oxford University, GB).
Provisional Time Schedule
Plenary lectures: PL
15mn. Short oral presentation of posters: SOP
30 min. Oral presentations: OP
2-hour workshops: WS-2
3-hour workshops: WS-3
Remark: It is expected that there will be at most 6 sessions of OP and/or WS running in parallel.
Participants should register online via the ESU-7 website
Early registration (before Feb 28, 2014): 225 EUR (175 EUR for students and school teachers)
Late registration (before May 31, 2014): 275 EUR (225 EUR for students and school teachers)
Online registration will be closed on May 31, 2014.
The registration fee will cover five lunches, one excursion plus dinner, and proceedings after the conference. Payment will eventually be possible through the website.
Accommodation can be booked through CABINN Scandinavia Hotel, where you will find a variety of options. You may enter their website through the conference website. A booking number for special prices for ESU-7 participants will soon be available at the conference website.
14. Social Program
• On Monday we will combine the poster presentation with a wine reception, where we can all walk around and talk to poster presenters (and others) in a friendly atmosphere while having a snack and a glass of wine.
• On Tuesday and Thursday we will end the days with “happy hours” where snacks and drinks are available, and where participants will have the opportunity to talk to each other, have informal meetings, etc.
• On Wednesday we have excursion day. We will leave the conference site before noon and go on a boat trip through the channels of Copenhagen. We will arrange for lunch on the way. The boat trip will end at Freetown Christiania, where we will spend some time walking around before we go to a restaurant for the conference dinner.
• (On Thursday night there will a dinner meeting for the HPM Advisory Board, where locations for ESU-8 will be discussed.)
15. For further information – contact
Evelyne Barbin, IREM et LMJL, UFR des sciences et des techniques, Université de Nantes, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex, France
Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 3, DK-1350 Copenhagen K
Uffe Thomas Jankvist, Department of Education, Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup. Tuborgvej 164, DK-2400 Copenhagen NV
Evelyne Barbin, France
Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen, Denmark
Uffe Thomas Jankvist, Denmark
Bjørn was a member of the HPM Newsletter team for many years, but he has decided to resign for professional reasons.
As President of HPM from 2008 to 2012 and in the name of the AdB of HPM, I want to thank Bjørn very much for his fine work on the HPM newsletter, a work he always did with efficiency and kindness. It is a pleasure for everyone to have Bjørn as a colleague, and we hope that we will have him in the HPM community for a long time to come.
Chair of HPM 2008-2012
There was an error in the Report of HPM 2008-2012 contained in the previous HPM newsletter. Indeed, the Chair of the Topic Study Group 23: The role of history of mathematics in mathematics education in ICME 11, Monterrey, Mexico, 6-13 July 2008 was Fulvia Furinghetti (Italy).
We offer all our apologies to Fulvia Furinghetti.
Chair of HPM 2008-2012
As a new regular feature of the HPM Newsletter, members of the HPM community will be asked to name a book (or books, or a paper) that has been important to them and to give their reasons for this. In this way, “classics” may be introduced to new audiences. In this issue, we ask recently retired HPM Newsletter editor Chris Weeks for his choice of book.
Lancelot Hogben, Mathematics for the Million, London, Allen & Unwin, 1936.
I was asked recently how I had become interested in the history of mathematics. I was always vaguely aware that mathematics and all science must have been developed over time but I owe a more specific awakening of interest in the history of mathematics to Hogben’s Mathematics for the Million. I read it while starting the more advanced mathematics courses at school and for the first time I found a book about mathematics that was not a recipe book for manipulating mathematical expressions. (To be fair a little more than following rules is required for higher school mathematics, but not much more.) The striking thing about the book is that the mathematics is presented from the outset as an historical development. He says:
The customary way of writing a book about mathematics is to show how each step follows logically from the one before without telling you what use there will be in taking it. This book is written to show how each step follows historically from the step before and what use it will be … [author’s italics]
Hogben claims to assume in the reader no more than an elementary knowledge of mathematics and he certainly starts from number and simple geometry. But a familiarity with algebraic manipulation is necessary almost from the outset. By the end of the book we meet almost all the mathematics that was then part of advanced mathematics in British schools prior to university.
The book was published by Allen & Unwin, London in 1936 and when I read it about 20 years later copies were to be found in almost every public lending library. It was endorsed by H G Wells (‘a great book of first class importance’) and by Albert Einstein (‘makes alive the contents and elements of mathematics’). There was a new edition in 1968 and after going out of print it was surprisingly reissued in paperback format by the left wing publisher Merlin Press in 1995 but is no longer in their list. How does it stand the test of time?
The first thing I noticed on rereading it was the confident and optimistic tone of the writing. It is unashamedly Whiggish in style. Science has made enormous progress since the Stone Age and mathematics is the tool that allowed such progress. Hogben also claims that mathematics is essentially a language about size. It enables us to calculate and measure. He is dismissive of the Plato school of philosophical reflections about the nature of number. That line only leads to mysticism. Mathematics is no use unless it makes things happen. As far as Greek science is concerned, the centre is Alexandria and Hogben is careful enough to insist on the description Alexandrian and to point out that the only thing that the mix of peoples associated with Alexandria had in common was their use of the Greek language.
The book claims to teach mathematics through tracing its story of development. In fact it sets out to be a teaching book (the author advises us to have paper and pencil to hand). It is carefully constructed in terms of increasing levels of mathematical demands and starts with simple arithmetic and geometry and ends with applications of the calculus and a final chapter on statistics and probability. In keeping with its time, there is a quite a lot about the use of determinants but no appearance of a matrix.
For my part, when I used the book, it almost exactly mirrored what I was studying at school but with the advantage of a wider context, more interesting problems and some indication of history. In fact the economic or military stimuli to new mathematical discoveries is evident. But there was richer fare including a whole chapter on ‘Mathematics for the mariner’ which includes a description of the celestial sphere and an introduction to spherical geometry.
For its mathematical content, I would certainly recommend the book to any budding mathematician. Of course the reader has to learn to read mathematics presented in a slightly unfamiliar way, but that’s no bad thing. And the reward is a number of delights, including this instruction from the British Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (1935) on how to lay out a right angle for a plantation of fruit trees:
The 24th link is pegged at the point from which the right angle is to be set out, the nought end of the chain and the 96th link are pegged together, back along the base line, so that the piece of chain 0-24 is taut. If the 56th link is taken in the direction required until both the sections 24-56 and 56-96 are taut, then the point reached will be at right angles to the base line.
So we have a 24:32:40 or 3:4:5 triangle. The reader of Hogben’s day would know that standard land measurement used Gunter’s chain of 100 links, where 1 chain is 22 yards (the length of a cricket pitch, as every schoolboy knew) and where, of course, 10 chains = 1 furlong and 8 furlongs = 1 mile. Today’s reader may need to do a bit of research but Google is at hand and a calculator will make the helpful addition of logarithmic and trigonometrical tables in the book unnecessary (although it might be instructive to learn how to use them).
Finally, a word about Hogben himself, which would have impressed me even more had I known it at the time I read his book. Hogben, largely self-educated at Stoke Newington Public Library, was an experimental zoologist and medical statistician by trade. During the First World War he served as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in France but after his decision to leave the Front and return to Cambridge he was imprisoned in 1916 as a conscientious objector. He married the mathematician and feminist Enid Charles, a statistician who worked on fertility rates. Both spoke against the then fashionable idea of eugenics. Hogben also wrote Science for the Citizen (1938), a companion book to Mathematics for the Million in the collection ‘Primers for the Age of Plenty’, a project which he edited and which was intended to encourage in his readers the self-education that he had valued in his youth. But both books, enormously popular as they were, were incidental to his main work in biology and statistics. The Hogben archive is housed at Birmingham University.
[For biographical information I have made free use of the Wikipedia entry for Lancelot Hogben]
Note: The following text is taken from http://www.rsme.es/centenario/index_i.html. For more information about past events and others, please, go to this website.
The Royal Spanish Mathematical Society reaches its centenary in 2011 as a modern and active society that works to support Spanish mathematicians in their efforts to improve research, education at all levels, the range of applications, public esteem and recognition from institutions.
Its more than 1700 members belonging to all realms of learning and of the mathematical profession, invite you to participate in conferences, exhibitions, debates and other events that will serve to recognize to all those who made possible our one hundred years of history, and to reflect on the challenges we will face in the next century; and, of course, we invite you to join us as a member and help build the future of the RSME.
The Royal Spanish Mathematical Society commemorates in 2011 the centennial of its founding. In these hundred years the work developed by the RSME has been of great importance as a link between members of our community. It has promoted scientific meetings, journals and relationships with other domestic and foreign companies pursuing similar purposes.
One of the key objectives of the RSME has been to encourage the contact between the secondary education, universities and society in general. In this spirit, we have designed a comprehensive program of events throughout the year and throughout the country.
The centenary year held its opening ceremony on January 20.
The RSME Biennial Congress, the main event of the centennial, took place in February. Young researchers and university students in mathematics will have their specific conferences in Soria and La Laguna (Tenerife).
The name of Scientific Days groups a series of short conferences that show a variety of fields where Spanish mathematicians are relevant.
There will be about ten colloquia as well, events aimed at students and people interested in mathematics but not involved in research.
The exhibition RSME-Imaginary will visit thirteen cities all over Spain with images, pictures, videos, interactive workshops…
All these events will extend even beyond the formal closing ceremony to be held in the old Hall of the Senate in November.
Congress of young researchers
September 5 to 9, Soria
Mathematics and youth, a wonderful pairing. The German mathematician Carl F. Gauss at the age of 18 constructed with ruler and compass a regular heptadecagon. For a similar construction we must go 2000 years before, to Greek mathematics.
It is therefore not surprising that the Nobel of mathematics (the Fields medal) is awarded (every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians) for outstanding discoveries made by mathematicians under 40 years. And the Rubio de Francia Prize of the RSME, as the prize of the European Mathematical Society, are directed to mathematicians under 32 years.
Therefore, the RSME organizes on its centennial a Congress of young researchers where both the speakers and the Scientific Committee are young Spanish mathematicians who work in Spain and other countries. Working on relevant problems and placed within worldwide mathematics, they guarantee the future of mathematics in Spain. We are in good hands.
Through a series of meetings of two or three days we intend to show the diversity of fields of mathematical activity, most notably (but not exclusively) those in which recent results apply to other disciplines.
In most cases, places were chosen where the scientific activity in the field is relevant. The resulting geographic distribution confirms the vitality of mathematics in Spain.
June 1 to 3, Barcelona
Conference on the Millennium Problems
June 6 to 8, Granada
Perspectives in Mathematics and Life Sciences
July 12 to 14, Santiago de Compostela
Conference on Transference and Industrial Mathematics
November 8 to 10, Zaragoza
Conference on History of Mathematics
November 17 and 18, Murcia
Colloquia of the centennial
Ten talks are planned sponsored by the RSME in Faculties and Institutes of Mathematics and distributed throughout 2011. With them we expect to extend the centennial activities for students and other people not so involved in research, as well as to establish a collaboration with the centers where our current and future RSME members are. Talks will be given by renowned lecturers and their locations provide a geographical balance with the other Centennial events: Valencia, Logroño, Zaragoza, Valladolid, A Coruña, Bilbao, Madrid, Barcelona, Ciudad Real and Badajoz.
June 24, Bilbao
Michèle Audin: Las dos ideas de Sofia Kovalevskaya.
September 15, Madrid
Andreu Mas-Colell: Modelización matemática para la economía y las finanzas
October 19, Barcelona
Francisco Santos: La conjetura de Hirsch.
October 25, Ciudad Real
Vicente Muñoz: La forma del Universo
November 4, Badajoz
Carlos Benítez: Algunos problemas matemáticos de apariencia sencilla
José Pedro Moreno: Conjuntos de anchura constante
The Senate of Spain will host the closing ceremony of the centenary of the RSME. This event, to be held in the old Plenary Room of the Senate, will address issues of science policy and education in mathematics.
It is expected the presence of representatives of the Crown, highest authorities of the State and distinguished personalities.
The closing ceremony will have two parts.
In the first one, early in the morning, after the speeches by the President of the Senate and the RSME, some other short presentations will focus on the hundred-year history of the RSME, the future of research, education and employment in Spain, and the role of the women. Prominent Spanish and foreign mathematicians will be present.
In the second part, at the end of the morning and of a solemn character, a document of Closure promoted by the RSME on the status and importance of mathematics will be read. At the end it will be signed by representatives of the Crown, highest authorities of the State and distinguished members of the mathematical community.
Additionally, there will be some participation in sessions of the Senate, as well as other parliamentary activities.