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.

To add your name to our emailing list,  send information to alan.gluchoff@villanova.edu

Click for directions to Villanova University.

A complete archive of past talks and abstracts is available here.

Directions: Villanova University is located on route 30, Lancaster Avenue, just east of I-476. If you drive to the meeting, enter Villanova by the main gate on Ithan Avenue. By order of the Parking Office, all parking is now in the M-2 (formally the Saint Augustine Center lot),  newly refurbished to a multistory structure. You will need to display your parking pass.

Public transportation: Take SEPTA's Paoli - Thorndale train to the Villanova station. If outbound from center city go down through the tunnel to the inbound side. From the inbound platform a few steps lead to the Mendel parking lot. Proceed to St. Augustine , Room 300. 

You can get in touch with me (Alan Gluchoff) at 610-905-1376 if you need help.

 

Upcoming PASHoM events

The Philadelphia Area Seminar on History of Mathematics will meet on Thursday, December 13, 2018, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Saint Augustine Center, Room 300.

We begin the evening with conversation and a light supper (donation: $10.00), and at approximately 6:30-6:45 pm, the talk will begin. Mariya Boyko, Math Circles Instructor, Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto, will speak on:

Title: Soviet Mathematics Education reforms of the 1970's and their Aftermath 

During the 1960's Soviet government initiated major education reform in USSR. Professor of Mathematics at the Moscow State University Andrei Kolmogorov got appointed as the head of the mathematics committee of the Scientific Methodological Council and got heavily involved in restructuring the current mathematics curriculum.  He aimed to merge the rigorous and non-rigorous ways of mathematical thinking in the minds of the students.  Kolmogorov introduced a collection of pedagogical innovations and emphasized the set theory, deductive logical approach, and pre-calculus in the new curriculum.  These changes in the curriculum were influenced by trends in modern mathematical research, such as the emphasis on rigorous and deductive logical approach, as well as, social and ideological tendencies that prevailed in the Soviet society, such as the rise of the Socialist Competition.  Soon, however, the community of mathematics educators discovered various shortcomings in the new curriculum, and the decision to conduct counter-reforms were made.  We will discuss the intellectual, political and ideological factors that shaped the development of the new Soviet mathematics curriculum, analyze the legacy of the reforms, and explore the reasons for the decline of the reforms.

The Philadelphia Area Seminar on History of Mathematics will meet on Thursday, November, 15, 2018, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Saint Augustine Center, Room 300.

We begin the evening with conversation and a light supper (donation: $10.00), and at  approximately 6:30-6:45 pm, the talk will begin. Professor Emeritus John Dawson, Pennsylvania State University, York, will speak on:

Title: Formal Logic

For centuries mathematics has been regarded as the exemplar of rigorous deductive reasoning.  Yet for much of its history it has been, and few universities today require mathematics graduates to have had a course in formal logic.  To what extent then have results in formal logic actually affected mathematical practice? And what accounts for popular impression that deductive logic is central to mathematical practice?"  

The Philadelphia Area Seminar on History of Mathematics will meet on Thursday, October, 11, 2018, from 6:00 - 8:00pm in the Saint Augustine Center, Room 300.

We begin the evening with conversation and a light supper (donation: $10.00), and at approximately 6:30-6:45 pm, the talk will begin. Professor Adrian Rice, Professor of Mathematics, Randolph-Macon College, will speak on:

Title: Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist 

Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as an early pioneer of computer science, due to an 1843 paper about Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, which, had it been built, would have been a general-purpose computer.  Her paper contains an account of the principles of the machine, along with a table often described as 'the first computer program'. However, over the years, there has been considerable disagreement among scholars as to her mathematical proficiency, with opinions ranging from 'genius' to 'charlatan'. This talk presents an analysis of Lovelace's extant mathematical writings and will attempt to convey a more nuanced assessment of her mathematical abilities than has hitherto been the case. 

The Philadelphia Area Seminar on History of Mathematics will meet on Thursday, April 19, 2018, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, in the Saint Augustine Center, Room 300.

We begin the evening with conversation and a light supper (donation: $10:00), and at approximately 6:30-6:45, the talk will begin. Professor John Botzum of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania will be the guest speaker and his lecture will cover:

Title: The Phi-bonacci Sequence

Sometimes innocent questions from students can stir long-forgotten memories and stimulate mathematical investigation.  Last year I took over my wife's Discrete Mathematics course for a week.  I spent much of the first class working out elementary induction proofs and introducing recurrence relations.  At the end of the class, one of the students asked if there was a recurrence relation for the nth term of the Fibonacci sequence.  I was in a hurry to teach a class 45 minutes away, so I foolishly replied that I did not think there was.  On the drive to my other job, I recalled Binet's formula which prompted me to dig up notes on this subject that I had long since forgotten.  This paper will discuss my discovery and re-discovery of the beautiful interplay between Binet's recurrence relation, the Golden Mean, and the Fibonnacci Sequence, as well as, discuss whether Binet was the first to discover the formula.

 

Directions:

Villanova University is located on route 30, Lancaster Ave, just east of I-476.  If you drive to the meeting enter VIllanova by the main gate on Ithan Ave.  By order of the Parking Office, all parking is now in the Saint Augustine Center lot, newly refurbished to a multistory structure.  You will need to display a parking pass, which will follow in a later email.  You can get in touch with me (Alan Gluchoff) at 610-905-1376 if you need help.

Public Transportation:

Take SEPTA's Paoli - Thorndale train to the Villanova station.  If outbound from center city go down through the tunnel to the inbound side.  From the inbound platform a few steps lead to the Mendel parking lot.  Proceed as above to the Saint Augustine Center, Room 300.

Contact Information

Department of Mathematics & Statistics
SAC Room 305
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085 
Tel: 610.519.4850
Fax: 610.519.6928
Email: math@villanova.edu

Chair:
Dr. Douglas Norton

Staff:
Christine Gadonas 610.519.4809

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