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2008 Joint Mathematics Meetings


As usual, the Joint Mathematics Meetings contain many sessions dealing with the history of mathematics and its use in teaching.   What follows is a summary of the historical sessions.  More details can be found on the website  for the meetings.  The website also contains details on registration and accommodations.

Friday and Saturday, January 4-5, 2008, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

MAA Short Course:  Combinatorics, Past, Present, and Future

The schedule of speakers and their topics:

Friday, January 4

9:00 a.m.  Robin Wilson, Introduction

9:15 a.m.  Andrea Breard, Combinatorics in China

10:00 a.m.  Victor Katz, Combinatorics in the Islamic and Hebrew traditions

11:15 a.m.  Eberhard Knobloch, European Combinatorics, 1200 - 1700

2:00 p.m.  Lars Andersen, Latin Squares

2:45 p.m.  George Andrews, Euler's "De Partitio Numerorum"

4:00 p.m. Robin Wilson, Early Graph Theory

Saturday, January 5

9:00 a.m.  Robin Wilson, Triple Systems, Schoolgirls, and Designs

9:45 a.m.  Bjarne Toft, The Game of hex:  History, Results, and Problems

11:00 a.m.  Lowell Beineke, 20th century Graphy Theory

2:00 p.m.  Herb Wilf and Lily Yen, Sister Celine as We Knew Her

2:45 p.m.  Ronald Graham and Doron Zeilberger, Combinatorics:  The Future and Beyond

Sunday, January 6, 2008, 8:00 a.m.-10:55 a.m.
MAA Contributed Paper Session on Ethnomathematics

Organizers: Dorothee J. Blum, Millersville University, Ximena P. Catepillan, Robert E. Jamison, Shemsi I. Alhaddad, Amy Shell-Gellasch

This contributed papers session solicits talks that describe research in ethnomathematics or the mathematics and the mathematical sciences of non-western cultures. Talks may present actually mathematical practices of other cultures or cultural endeavors such as art and architecture that reveal significant mathematical thinking. The speakers and their topics follow:

8:00 a.m.
Anass Bayaga - South Africa Social Influences and Mthematics Education.

8:20 a.m.
Darrah P. Chavey - A Java Drawing Program for Nitus, Kolam, Celtic Knots, etc.

8:40 a.m.
Ann Robertson - Teaching an Ethnomathematics Course through the Lens of Geometry.

9:00 a.m.
Ann E. Moskol - Mathematics and Culture: A critical inquiry into the development of Mathematics.

9:20 a.m.
Kevin Hartshorn - Cultural study through mathematics.

9:40 a.m.
William Branson - The Locus of Islamic Mathematics.

10:00 a.m.
Thomas E. Gilsdorf - The Ethnomathematics of Weaving. 

10:20 a.m.
Waclaw Szymanski - Maya Calendar Conversions. 

10:40 a.m.
Dorothee Jane Blum - A Critical Thinking Assignment Involving Plimpton 322. 

Sunday, January 6, 2008, 8:00 a.m. - 10:55 a.m.                                                      AMS Session on the History of Mathematics

8:00 a.m.
Reuben Hersh and Vera John-Steiner - Math as solace, math as addiction. 

8:15 a.m.
Radoslav Dimitric - Roger Boscovich and the notion of continuity. 

8:30 a.m.
Walter Meyer - History of the Movement for Applications of Undergraduate Mathematics: Advocacy and Outcome. 
8:45 a.m.
Thomas Hull - The history of origami geometric constructions.

9:00 a.m.
Mohammad K. Azarian - Al-Risala al-Muhitiyya (The Treatise on the Circumference). 
9:15 a.m.
Zengxiang Tong - Ten Principles in Teaching the Course History of Mathematics. 
9:30 a.m.
Yibao Xu - Rare Chinese Mathematical Books in the David Eugene Smith Collection. 
9:45 a.m.
Sang-Gu Lee, Jihwa Noh, and Sung-Yell Son Song - Development of Korean Mathematics in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. 

10:00 a.m.
M. Alejandra Sorto - The Mathematics of the Mayan Cross. 
10:15 a.m.
J. Christopher Tweddle - Weierstrass's construction of the real numbers. 
10:30 a.m.
Alexander G. Atwood - The Enigma of Stanislaw Ulam: Mathematical Triumph in the Face of Brain Injury. 
10:45 a.m.
Andrew B. Perry - Influence of the French on Elementary American Mathematics Textbooks, 1820-1850.

Sunday, January 6, 2008, 9:40 a.m. - 10:55 a.m and 2:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.     

MAA Contributed Paper Session on Using Ideas from Asian Mathematics in the Classroom

Organizers: Victor J. Katz, Kim L. Plofker, Frank Swetz

Historically, there was much mathematics developed in China, India, and the Islamic World in the time period from the beginning of our era through the fifteenth century. Although some of these mathematical ideas were transmitted to Europe during that same time period, many other Asian mathematical accomplishments were not translated into any European language until the nineteenth or twentieth century. But today, much of the corpus of Indian, Chinese, and Islamic mathematics is available in English translation. And given the increasingly multicultural makeup of our student bodies, it is important that college teachers be familiar with these ideas so that they can use them in their teaching. They will then not only understand that mathematical thinking has been a part of every literate culture of which we are aware, but also be able to communicate to their students the worldwide nature of mathematics and how its history plays a vital role in its current use and future development. We therefore solicit contributions which display the use of topics from the mathematics of China, India, and Islam in the undergraduate classroom. This session is sponsored by HOMSIGMAA.

9:40 a.m.
A. S. Elkhader - Examples on Integrating History of Mathematics into the Elementary Education Mathematics Curriculum. 

10:00 a.m.
Edith Prentice Mendez - Thabit Teaches How to Read a Text: Amicable Numbers for Prospective Elementary Teachers.

10:20 a.m.
Benjamin V. C. Collins - Al-Samaw'al and Division of Polynomials.

10:40 a.m.
Shahriar Shahriari - Abu l'Wafa and a Rusty Compass.

2:15 p.m.
Rachelle M. Ankney - A beginning college class reviews basic algebra by way of ancient and medieval Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, and Islam.

2:35 p.m.
Kate McGivney - Origins of Trigonometric Functions.

2:55 p.m.
Homer S. White - Use of Original Asian Sources in a Liberal Arts Class on the History of Mathematics. 

3:15 p.m.
Chiru Bhattacharya - The Geometric Series: Visually.

3:35 p.m.
Clemency J. Montelle - ``The Net of Numbers'': Combinatorics in Ancient India Engaging Early Examples for Contemporary Classrooms.

3:55 p.m.
James F. Kiernan - Kuttaka and Ta-Yen:a Comparison of Indian and Chinese Methods of Solving Linear Indeterminate Equations. 

4:15 p.m.
Helmer Aslaksen - Heavenly Mathematics: The Mathematics of the Chinese, Indian, and Islamic calendars. 

4:35 p.m.
Michael Woltermann - A Sangaku problem with a western proof. 

4:55 p.m.
Jerry Lodder - An Ancient View on Proportionality in Similar Triangles. 

5:15 p.m.
Joel Haack - Illustrating the use of The Nine Chapters in the classroom. 

5:35 p.m.
David Gove - The Gougu Theorem, etc. in a Euclidean Geometry class. 

Sunday January 6, 2008, 2:15 p.m.-5:55 p.m.
MAA General Contributed Paper Session

Organizers: Sarah L. Mabrouk
Moderators: Cynthia J. Woodburn, Peter Staab, Albert W. Schueller, and
Leon Hardy

3:45 p.m.
Hieu D. Nguyen and Thomas Osler - Translating Euler's works: How to get your students' feet wet in undergraduate research. 

4:30 p.m.
Jesse W. Byrne and Charlotte K. Simmons - Augustus De Morgan: The Man Behind the Scenes. 

5:15 p.m.
Youyu Phillips - From Chinese Mathematics to Calculus and Beyond. 

Sunday, January 8, 2008, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
SIGMAA on the History of Mathematics Annual Meeting and Guest Lecture

Organizer: Amy Shell-Gellasch

The guest lecturer is Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, and his talk is entitled "Ethnomathematics in a Global World."

Abstract:  The globalization process in the 21st century is characterized by intense demographic dynamics, which relies, both intellectually and geographically, on local and contextualized ways of knowing and doing. This leads to a duality of strands in education: the global and the local. In the global strand it is important to show the students the presence of mathematics in a world dominated by techno-science, and in the local strand it is important to reassure students of the importance of their cultural roots.

A difficult, somewhat unusual, research in the History of Mathematics is the question: “how is mathematics done?”. In trying to answer this question, I am led to the Program Ethnomathematics, which emerges as a transdisciplinarian and transcultural research program in the history and philosophy of mathematics, with pedagogical implications.

Monday January 7, 2008, 8:30 a.m.-11:55 a.m.
MAA Session on Philosophy of Mathematics

Organizers: Kevin M. Iga and Bonnie Gold

8:30 a.m.
Laura Mann Schueller - Mathematical Rigor in the Classroom. 

9:00 a.m.
Andrew G. Borden - Mathematics is a Meme(plex). 
9:30 a.m.
Carl E. Behrens - Are Euclid's Postulates Really Essences? 
10:00 a.m.
Daniel C. Sloughter - The De Continuo of Thomas Bradwardine. 

10:30 a.m.
Jeff Buechner - Ignoring the Obvious in Philosophical Applications of the Gödel Incompleteness theorems. 

11:00 a.m.
James R. Henderson - What Does It Mean for One Problem to Reduce to Another? 
11:30 a.m.
Ruggero Ferro - Remarks about the notion of EXISTENCE in mathematics. 

Monday, January 7, 2008, 9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

MAA Invited Address

Karen Parshall - 4000 Years of Algebra:  An Historical Tour from BM 13901 to Moderne Algebra

Abstract:  How is it that the high school analysis of polynomial equations and the modern algebra of the research mathematician—so seemingly different in their objectives, in their tools, and in their philosophical outlook—are both called “algebra”? Are they even related? The fact is that they are. This talk will sketch the long and complicated story of how they are related via a 4000-year-long history that stretches from Mesopotamia around 1800 B.C.E.—when mathematicians recorded an
algorithm for solving quadratic equations on clay tablets like BM 13901, held today in the British Museum—to the publication in 1930 of Bartel van der Waerden’s classic text, Moderne Algebra.


Monday, January 7, 2008, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

HOM SIGMAA Panel Discussion
The Political Dimension of Ethnomathematics

Organizers: Amy Shell-Gellasch  and Janet L. Beery
Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil
Ana Lúcia Bras Dias, Central Michigan University
Arthur B. Powell, Rutgers University

Ethnomathematics is a growing area of both research and educational ideas. With its emphasis on cultural contexts for mathematical ideas, the study of ethnomathematics draws on diverse disciplines and has the potential to influence education and society in meaningful and even radical ways. Panelists will address the political and social realities and ramifications of conducting and communicating research in ethnomathematics. Panelists and their topics will include: Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, "Social justice and ethnomathematics"; Ana Lúcia Braz Dias, Central Michigan University, "The role of ethnomathematics in refuting deficit explanations for the achievement gap"; and Arthur B. Powell, Rutgers University, "Ethnomathematics: Traversing the 'digital divide'". The panel is sponsored by the SIGMAA on History of Mathematics.


Monday January 7, 2008, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
MAA Poster Session on Projects Supported by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education
Organizer: Jon W. Scott

2:00 p.m.
Gabriela R. Sanchis - History Across the Mathematics Curriculum for Preservice Teachers.

Monday January 7, 2008, 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m.
SIGMAA on the Philosophy of Mathematics Business Meeting, Guest Lecture, and Reception

5:45 p.m.
Penelope Maddy - How applied mathematics became pure.

AMS-MAA Special Session on History of Mathematics

Joseph W. Dauben, Lehman College
Patti Hunter, Westmont College
Victor J. Katz, University of the District of Columbia
Karen H. Parshall, University of Virginia

Tuesday, January 8, 2008, 8:00 a.m.-10:55 a.m., morning session co-sponsored by the International Commission on History of Mathematics

8:00 AM
Toke Lindegaard Knudsen - Mathematics and Mathematical Astronomy in Ancient India.                                    

8:30 AM
Glen R Van Brummelen - A Different Sort of Sacred Geometry: Medieval Analemma for Finding the Direction of Mecca.                                  

9:00 AM
Mary Sol de Mora Charles - A New Interpretation of Cardano's Liber De Ludo Aleae.                        

9:30 AM
Janet L. Beery - Navigating Between Triangular Numbers and Trigonometric Tables: How Thomas Harriot Developed His Interpolation.                                            

10:00 AM
Ubiratan D'Ambrosio - Joaquim Gomes de Souza, a controversial 19th century Brazilian mathematician.                

10:30 AM
Alejandro R. Garciadiego - Introduction of set theory in Mexico.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008, 1:00 p.m.-5:55 p.m., afternoon session co-sponsored by the International Commission on History of Mathematics

1:00 PM
Niccolò Guicciardini - The early history of F=ma: approaches to central force motion at the beginning of the eighteenth century.                           

1:30 PM
Israel Kleiner - Richard Dedekind (1831-1916): a path-breaking mathematician.                         

2:00 PM
Laura Martini  - Publishing Research: Specialized Mathematical Journals in Italy (1850-1914).                 

2:30 PM
Raymond G Flood - Lord Kelvin: the Irish connection.     

3:00 PM
Tom Archibald - Formulas, concepts, and the "Jacobi limit": observations on change in late-nineteenth-century mathematics.                 

3:30 PM
Craig G. Fraser - Jacques Hadamard (1865-1963) and the Calculus of Variations.  

4:00 PM
Ivor Grattan-Guinness - How influential was mechanics in the development of neo-classical economics?                               

4:30 PM
June E. Barrow-Green - "Anti-aircraft guns all day long": computing for the Ministry of Munitions.             

5:00 PM
Evgeny I Gordon - L.S. Pontrjagin's letters to I.I. Gordon.

5:30 PM
Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze - Mathematicians fleeing from Hitler's Germany.                                             

Wednesday, January 9, 2008, 8:00 a.m.-10:55 a.m.
8:00 AM
José A. Cervera - The method for the extraction of roots in Giacomo Rho's Chou Suan.        

8:30 AM
Eisso J Atzema - Beyond Trigonometry: On the Study of Quadrilaterals in the Early 17th Century Dutch Republic.                                      

9:00 AM
William Dunham - When Euler Met l'Hospital.

9:30 AM
Todd Timmons - Euler (and DeMoivre) Meet Doc Holliday: The Mathematical Analysis of a Popular Game of Chance.                                      

10:00 AM
Paul C. Pasles - Benjamin Franklin's Numbers.

10:30 AM
Judith V. Grabiner - It's All for the Best: Optimization in the History of Science.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008, 1:00 p.m.-5:55 p.m.

1:00 PM
David Pengelley - Sophie Germain's manuscripts on Fermat's Last Theorem: A further evaluation of their scope, depth, and original techniques

1:30 PM
Steve Batterson - Hubert Newton and the study of mathematics in the mid-nineteenth century.                                             

2:00 PM
Sloan Evans Despeaux - The Mathematics of Nature, 1869-1900.                                           

2:30 PM
Harold M. Edwards - The Algorithmic Side of Riemann's Mathematics.                                         

3:00 PM
Thomas Drucker - Paucissima et Maturissima: Kurt Gödel's Reluctance to Publish in the Philosophy of Mathematics.                                      

3:30 PM
David Lindsay Roberts - American Mathematicians and School Reform: A Survey of Motives, Methods, and Outcomes from the 1890s to the Present.                                            

4:00 PM
David E. Zitarelli - Who was Miss Mullikin?                   

4:30 PM
John McCleary - Tracing Curve Tracing

5:00 PM
Deborah Kent - Mathematician In Search of War Work: Alice Bache Gould, 1917-1918

5:30 PM
John W Dawson - Priority arguments are not priority disputes.  


Tuesday January 8, 2008, 1:00 p.m.-1:50 p.m.
MAA Lecture for Students


J. Brian Conrey - The Riemann Hypothesis.

Abstract:  The famous Riemann Hypothesis is nearly 150 years old. It was on Hilbert’s list of 23 problems in 1900 and now it is on the Clay list of Millennium problems, and has a one million dollar reward for its solution. Many people regard it as the most important unsolved problem in all of mathematics. In this talk we will explain exactly what the Riemann Hypothesis is and give some of the colorful history that has grown up around efforts to solve it.

Tuesday January 8, 2008, 1:00 p.m.-5:55 p.m.
MAA General Contributed Paper Session

4:15 p.m.
Kelly B. Funk and Robert Powers - A generalization of Ceva's Theorem and Menelaus' Theorem.

4:45 p.m.
Gabriela R. Sanchis - Calculus Activities Inspired by the History of Mathematics. 
Wednesday January 9, 2008, 2:45 p.m.-5:10 p.m.
MAA General Contributed Paper Session

3:45 p.m.
Sandra E. Boer - Batteries Not Included: Using the Abacus to Motivate Liberal Arts Mathematics Students.

"2008 Joint Mathematics Meetings," Loci (November 2007)