Mathematics and the History of Mathematics in Western and Non-Western Traditions

Kim Plofker

Brouwerlezing, Waaier 2, 19:30 - 20:30

Perhaps more than any other science, mathematics contains its own history, both as a field of study and as a professional discipline. This paper discusses changing aims and current priorities in the history of mathematics, with special reference to comparisons between "western" (i.e., Euclid-based) and "non-western" traditions of mathematical knowledge. Among our examples we offer some remarkable results from late-medieval Indian mathematics that illustrate the creative tension between mathematical experiment and proof.

Kim Plofker studeerde wiskunde, wetenschapsgeschiedenis en Sanskrit en promoveerde in 1995 bij David Pingree (Brown University, Providence RI, USA) op een dissertatie over middeleeuwse wiskundige Sanskrietteksten. Zij werkte daarna aan Brown University, MIT, Utrecht en Leiden, catalogiseerde Sanskriethandschriften in Jaipur (India), en is tegenwoordig verbonden aan Union College, Schenectady, NY, USA.Zij schreef het standaardwerk ``Mathematics in India" over de geschiedenis van de wiskunde in India tussen 500 v.C. en 1800 (Princeton University Press, 2009).