Philadelphia Area Seminar on the History of Mathematics (PASHoM)

A seminar of faculty from colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area, with a shared interest in the history of mathematics. The seminar meets monthly during the academic year. Usually the seminar meets at 6:00 p.m. on a Thursday evening at Villanova University for a light meal, conversation and a presentation.

Established January 2001 for persons in the greater Philadelphia area to:

  • share our common interest in history of mathematics,
  • encourage one another in our research efforts,
  • offer a forum for reporting on work in progress.

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Meeting on Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Philadephia Area Seminar on History of Mathematics will meet on Thursday, October 23, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., in Saint Augustine Center Room 300.

We begin with conversation and a light supper (donation: $10.00). When the discussion lags, about 6:30 to 6:45, Victor Katz, University of District of Columbia, retired ( author of "A History of Mathematics, An Introduction", will speak on:

Recreational Problems in Medieval Mathematics.

Abstract: Recreational problems have been a fixture in mathematics problem solving from antiquity. it has long been known that the same problems reappear in cultures all over the world - from ancient Egypt and Babylonia through Greece, medieval China and India, and on into medieval Europe and the Renaissance, as well as into modern times. What is surprising, perhaps, is that often the exact same problems reappear, even with the same numerical values, in cultures separated by many years and many miles. We frequently have no idea of the paths these problems took in moving from civilization to civilization. In this talk, we will look at some appearances of two of these classic recreational problem types and see how different people at different times solved them. Perhaps we can also gain some insight into the methods of travel of these problems.