This BBC Radio 4 website contains the audio recordings of five programmes about the history of numbers. The five numbers discussed are zero, pi, 1.618 (the Golden Ratio), i (the imaginary number), and infinity. The main page contains a brief introduction to each number and a light-hearted 'what number are you?' quiz. The programmes themselves each last fifteen minutes and go into a little more detail as to the history of each number, yet still in an accessible way. Presenter Simon Singh talks to several experts, who discuss the reasons why each number came to be discovered, and their effects on the history of mathematics. There is also a link to the second series of the programme, entitled 'Another 5 Numbers'.
This BBC website accompanies a series of five programmes broadcast on Radio 4 in 2002 introducing five important numbers in mathematics. The programmes investigate the social, historical and scientific significance of zero, pi, the golden ratio, the imaginary number and infinity. The series was presented by Dr Simon Singh of the BBC's science department. There is a link to the second series which followed in October 2003 which looked at the numbers four, seven, the largest prime, Kepler's conjecture and game theory. Each programme in the two series has a page of notes plus a 15 minute RealPlayer audio file.
This online resource consists of a substantial miscellany of items relating to the ancient mathematician and technologist Archimedes of Syracuse (?287-212BC); it was compiled by Dr Chris Rorres, a member of the mathematics department at Drexel University (Philadelphia, USA) who has a strong amateur interest in Archimedes' life and work. The site is illuminated throughout by translated extracts from the works of Polybius, Livy, Plutarch, Cicero, Vitruvius and other writers, discussing familiar episodes such as the siege of Syracuse - the defence against which is traditionally held to have relied on Archimedes' mechanical ingenuity - and Archimedes' subsequent death and burial. The site includes: a summary timeline of Archimedes' life; a narrative account of the siege; some historical background material, including information on the ruling family of Syracuse; discussions of Archimedes' known or supposed mathematical concerns, including the 'cattle problem and the Archimedean solids; and numerous paintings, engravings and contemporary illustrations (some highly speculative) depicting Archimedes' claw, burning mirrors, screw and other legendary innovations, plus a number of "portraits" available at various resolutions.
The Archimides Palimpsest is a website devoted to the oldest surviving manuscript containing the work of the Greek thinker, Archimedes of Syracuse (ca 287-212 BC). Preserved at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, the manuscript contains a compendium of his mathematical treatises. Most importantly, it includes the only copy of the treatise Method of Mechanical Theorems, in which Archimedes explains how he drew upon mechanical means to elucidate his mathematical theorems. It is also the only source in the original Greek for the treatise On Floating Bodies, in which Archimedes explores the physics of flotation and explains the formal proof for the principle of specific gravity. With beautifully rendered reproductions, biographical and historical background, as well as information on preservation techniques, the Archimedes Palimpsest is an excellent introduction to the manuscript. A core set of data including digital images, transcriptions and metadata of the Archimedes Palimpsest has been released in October 2008 and can be downloaded from a linked website. The core set of data has been used by Google to produce an e-book accessible online. This website and the data made available may be useful to people interested in a variety of disciplines (Greek literature; mathemathics; palaeography; manuscript preservation; digital reading on ancient artefacts; etc.) at all levels.
This is the website of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists’ AHRC-funded project to catalogue the archives of eleven leading British mathematical and physical scientists. The AHRC grant has enabled each scientist’s papers to be catalogued at their respective repositories, and this website links to the various resulting online catalogues. The project has made available material relating not just to the work of the eleven scientists in their fields (ranging from atomic physics to radio astronomy), but also to aid the historical study of scientists’ wider contributions to society from war roles to the advancement of women in science. These topics are explored further in the ‘Connexions’ sections, which point the user to relevant material.
This website presents an illustrated essay examining the interaction between science and art in Renaissance and early-modern Italy. The discovery and application of mathematical perspective forms an important aspect of this essay, as do Galilei's studies of motion, especially his experiments with inclined planes and his analysis of accelerated motion associated with the leaning tower of Pisa. The first part of the essay is about Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), his life and work. The author then looks at the evolution of perspective in Italian art and architecture, before returning again to Galilei's experiments with motion. The conclusion argues that Galilei achieved a synthesis of theory and observation, and that the mathematical principles of physical reality discovered by the new scientists also facilitated art. Some sections of the site include video clips.
Charles Babbage (1791-1871) was the 19-century pioneer of calculating and computers. This website discusses his life, his achievments, and ground-breaking inventions. His famous Calculating Machine (which incendentky was never built in his life), was the forerunner of the modern computer, and he was very liekely the first programmer. This website provides a biogrpahy of the great mathamatician, includign a list of his inventions such as lighthouse signals, and mathamatical code breaking. Also outlined is Babbage's socio-political ideas. He was a great economist, suggesting that the centre of the economy was the industrialized factories. His ideas influence Marx's ideas about the evolution of society, and capitalism. There are bibliographic references given on various pages for those looking for further research. An illustration of his famous Calculating Machine is given. A brief explanation of Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's half sister, who became one of Babbages' prize pupils, and is often accredited with the invention of programming. A large excerpt from Nathan Rosenburg's "Babbage: Pioneer Economist" which discusses in greater length Babbage's theories about economy, as well as an essay by the website designer called "Whiggism and the History of Science and the Study of the Life and Work of Charles Babbage". This website is recommended for students of nineteenth-century history, political science student, and economy students.
This compact website is part of an on-going project by mathematics students at Agnes Scott College, a private liberal arts college for women in Atlanta, USA. The aim of the project is 'to illustrate the numerous achievements of women in the field of mathematics'. Accordingly, the site contains short biographical essays, written by the students, about most of the notable women in the history of mathematics, which can be browsed alphabetically, chronologically or by location of birth. Also included in these essays are brief lists of references and, where available, images. In addition the site contains lists of mathematical prizes won by women, a list of some of the first women to study for PhDs in mathematics at American universities and a series of links to other sites relevant to women in mathematics. There is also a topical 'Did you Know?' feature containing references to women and/or mathematics in popular culture, in areas as diverse as 'The Simpsons' and the background of actress, Danica Mckellar, and the news on the future plans of notable female maths students. The site is regularly updated and includes details of workshops and conferences.
Bletchley Park was home to the Second World War codebreaking initiative which famously defeated the German Enigma machine, employing Alan Turing’s innovation of the Bombe, a predecessor of the early electromechanical computers. It now operates as a visitor attraction, and this official site is relatively commercial: there is, however, some historical information including a loose narrative chronology of events in the period September 1941-March 1942 (author unspecified) and an account of early Polish successes in breaking Enigma, often overlooked, plus photographs and a Java simulation of an Enigma machine (also available at the website of its author, Russell Schwager). The material is popular in tone and would be suitable for presenting to school-age or first-level undergraduates as background or a basis for project work; there is little of potential use to researchers, however, with the possible exception of a paper, written by Bletchley Park mathematician Frank Carter, entitled "Mathematics in Action". This discusses some of the principles behind the breaking of the Lorenz cipher: the full-text is available in PDF format. The site also provides conference details, briefly annotated links, and general information about visiting the site. The layout is rather busy and a little confusing: most of the useful material is to be found in the sections "Enigma" and "History".
The British Society for the History of Mathematics aims to promote research into the history of mathematics and its use at all levels of mathematics education. The Society was formed in 1971. It organises meetings, publishes a newsletter, and disseminates information about activities and projects in schools, colleges, universities, and elsewhere. The Society is interested in all aspects of mathematics, in all parts of the world, spanning all time periods. The website describes the organisation and provides membership details. It also serves as a news service, keeping users up-to-date as to conferences, meetings, and other events. A comprehensive list of recent book and article abstracts is provided on the site, as are the contents pages of the Society newsletter. There is a directory of history of mathematics courses at UK universities, and a mathematical gazetteer of the British Isles. The gazetteer consists of an index of towns and localities associated with great mathematicians or projects of mathematical interest, with short summaries of why each place is noteworthy.
Codes and Ciphers in the Second World War is a site principally devoted to the work of Bletchley Park, the secret British codebreaking centre. The site is maintained by Tony Sale, original curator of the Bletchley Park Museum, and is independent from the present Bletchley Park Trust. Significantly richer in detail than the official Bletchley Park site, it provides useful introductions (both technical and contextual) to the prehistory of the codebreaking initiative; the operation of the various Enigma machines; the roles of Polish and French cryptanalysts; Alan Turing and the development of the Bombe; the physical layout of the Park (with numerous photographs from 1938 and the present); the logistics of the codebreaking and translation process; the building of the Colossus machine to break the Lorenz cipher; and the 1990s project to reconstruct Colossus, which was instigated and organised by the site's author. Notes to several lectures given by Tony Sale on Enigma, the Bombe and the Colossus are also included, as is a chronology (compiled from secondary sources) of twentieth century codebreaking history. Also present are full-text transcripts of several reports and manuals from the 1940s which concern Enigma or Bletchley Park, presented in PDF format; a contents list to Tony Sale's personal database (not archived online) of source documents from the history of cryptanalysis; and an interactive simulation of the Colossus machine.
The Cosmographia of Petrus Apianus was one of the most popular books of its kind in sixteenth-century Europe. The book acted as a layman's introduction to such subjects as astronomy, geography, cartography, surveying, navigation, and mathematical instruments. The authors of the website describe cosmography and the intellectual context into which the Cosmographia was published. They also look at the technological aspects of the work, and the situation regarding the scientific instruments of its time. There is a bibliography and a list of editions of the Cosmographia. The text itself is not included with the site. Despite this obvious absence, the site does provide a good introductory essay on the history of science and the history of publishing in sixteenth century Europe.
CultureMATH is a website aimed at teachers and students of mathematics that also publishes an interesting series of papers and video interviews on the history of mathematics. Two special sections on the mathematics in ancient Mesopotamia and China are particularly valuable for archaeologists; they contain some full-text papers, bibliographic references and hyperlinks to other full-text papers (also in French) published on the Internet. Among the papers are "Calculer chez les marchands Assyriens au début du IIe millénaire av. J.-C." by Cécile Michel; "Le calcul sexagésimal en Mésopotamie: enseignement dans les écoles de scribes" by Christine Proust; "les Neuf Chapitres, le classique mathématique de la Chine ancienne et ses commentaires" a video by Karine Chemla. The videos are normally very large files available in Windows Media and Quicktime format. Of some importance are also the papers focusing on the mathematics on some medieval manuscripts, such as "Le Compendy de la practique des nombres", and those focusing on manuals for traders, such as "Le compendy de la praticque des nombres, une arithmétique du XVe siecle í mi-chemin entre théorie et pratique commerciale" by Maryvonne Spiesser.
This is the website of a major five-year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research project, begun in October 2008. The project will examine the visual manifestations of the ways in which "...astronomy was transformed in the early-modern period through the invention of new instruments and techniques of observation, the introduction of new world systems and the integration of mathematical astronomy with natural philosophy". At May 2009 the website has details of the project team, and an extensive bibliography which has been usefully divided into themed sub-sections.
The Dibner Library is the Smithsonian Institution Library for the history of science and technology. It holds a number of special collections of manuscripts and rare books dating from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. It has grown from Bern Dibner's original collection of works about Leonardo da Vinci to now include over 35,000 rare books covering such fields as engineering, transportation, chemistry, mathematics, physics, electricity, and astronomy, and 2,000 manuscript sources. The website describes the history of the library and its collections, along with access details and its services for scholars and the general public. A section on new acquisitions provides an annual report, and a PDF newsletter gives details on other projects and developments. Lectures and digital editions of primary works are accessible from the site. The library also offers research grants for students and an annotated list of links to other online resources. The library's holdings are included on the international OCLC database and on the Smithsonian Libraries own catalogue, SIRIS. There is a list of further reading for those interested in learning more about the library.
This website contains an applet that simulates the Enigma encryption machines used by the Germans during World War Two. The user can enter text into the machine which is then displayed in its encoded state. The site also includes a history of the Enigma machine, from its commercial beginnings, through its use in the Second World War, to the attempts to decipher Enigma messages concluding in the success of the code-breakers and mathematicians at Bletchley Park. Another section of the site explains how the machine works, for the benefit of anyone else wishing to write a simulator. Links are provided to related sites. The website requires a Java applet to use the enigma machine.
"Epact: Scientific Instruments of Medieval and Renaissance Europe" is an online catalogue arising from a collaboration between four museums: the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford (on whose server the catalogue resides); the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza [Institute and Museum of the History of Science], Florence; the British Museum, London; and the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden. The 520 catalogue entries represent all the various museums' European instrument holdings from makers active before 1600. The catalogue is commendably detailed: in addition to information on maker, origins, dimensions, etc., each entry has an accompanying photograph, viewable at three levels of resolution, a summary overview (typically 130 words) and a rather longer description, with authors credited. The catalogue may be browsed by maker, place of origin or date. Particularly helpful is an online hand-list, allowing all the headings to be viewed at once. Alternatively, thumbnail images of the instruments may be used for navigation. A comprehensive search facility is also available. The instruments catalogued include armillary spheres, astrolabes, astronomical compendia, compasses, globes, quadrants, sundials, measuring rules and instruments for surveying and artillery ranging. Among the support materials are a glossary of all terms used in the descriptions, plus slightly longer articles outlining the operation of instruments; brief biographical details (with references) of the makers; notes on all the sites of instrument production featured; a general bibliography of early instruments and an essay, "Medieval and renaissance mathematical arts and sciences", putting the scope of the project in context.
The Geometry of War, 1500-1750, is an online exhibition mounted by Oxford's Museum of the History of Science. It illustrates the use of mathematical ideas and scientific instruments in practical circumstances. An accompanying essay argues that the purported military value of precision geometric instruments also helped justify textbook geometrical problems, and enabled scientists to attract patronage. The website consists of summaries of various aspects of warfare, and the technological contributions afforded them by developments in geometry and instrument making. It contains an extensive catalogue of over 80 artefacts, each described and illustrated. There is a gallery of images depicting the use of geometric instruments in battle, and a bibliography of useful secondary reading. A name index enables users to locate artefacts and images by particular craftsmen. The exhibition provides an excellent introduction to this aspect of the history of science.
This is the home page of Göttinger Digitalisierungs-Zentrum (GDZ), the Centre for Retrospective Digitization in Göttingen, Germany. The site describes the founding of the Centre in 1997; its connection with the State and University Library of Lower Saxony; its methods of image capture and digitization; file conversion services; and GDZ events. But the highlight of the site is its impressive set of online document collections, most of which hail from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Researchers may browse the collections under the following headings: Autobiographica; DigiWunschbuch; North American Literature; Mathematical Literature; Travel Literature; History of the Humanities and the Sciences; Sibirica (Siberia); Zoologica; Varia; and Maps. This resource allows visitors to search for sources in simple and complex terms using search engines. Navigation can be a little confusing, but it improves once the documents are directly accessed. A zoom function aids closer examination of the documents themselves. Occasionally the images have problems loading; the majority however, load successfully and offer an invaluable and outstanding resource for historians and scholars in German, Russian and American Studies, as well as those working in the History of Mathematics and the Sciences. The site also provides a PDF download option to download sections of books, whole books may be transfered or saved on CD-ROM, but these must be ordered via the library for a stated price. The resource also offers an in-depth, detailed list of related digitization projects at other institutions emphasising the progress that has been made in Germany in the online posting of valuable historical documents and resources.
History of Mathematics is a largely bibliographic website maintained by Dr David E Joyce, a lecturer in maths and computer science. There is not much analytical content, but the site provides comprehensive bibliographies (usually unannotated) of secondary print resources, classified by subject area and by geographical region, plus a few weblinks. Also present are a substantial chronological list of mathematical practitioners, and details of organisations and journals for the history of maths. An introductory page is included, with links to an overview of the work of Euclid in ancient Greece, and the early 20th century mathematician, David Hilbert, as representing to the site's author defining moments in the development of mathemactical theory. The site has not been updated since 1998, so publications since then will not be included.
The History of Mathematics website created by, David Wilkins of Trinity College, Dublin, concentrates on mathematicians of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The site has detailed information on George Berkeley, Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann, George Boole, Georg Cantor and Isaac Newton. Primary source material is included on the site. There is, for example, the full-text of George Boole's paper on the 'Calculus of Logic' and Hamilton's 'On Symbolic Geometry'. Biographies of approximately ninety seventeenth and eighteenth century mathematicians are available. A list of links to other history of mathematics websites is also maintained.
The math-history-list email list is an unmoderated forum intended for scholars working on the history of mathematics. The list is used for announcements and discussions relating to research and teaching, as well as for queries about particular issues. Instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing are provided on the web page. The searchable archives of the list are available back to its inception in 1995. The list does not appear to have been heavily used in recent months, but posts are relevant to the subject.
The biographies listed here include those of people whose work promoted the science of navigation. They are: Tobias Mayer (1723-1762), a German Professor, whose lunar and solar tables published in England in the 18th Century were good enough to determine longitude at sea with an accuracy of half a degree; John Hadley (1682-1744) who invented the sextant which measured the altitude of the Sun or a star above the horizon to find geographic positions at sea; Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811) a British astronomer who experimented with the determination of longitude by observations of the Moon's position and introduced this method into navigation by publishing `The British Mariner's Guide' (1763). He published the first volume of the `Nautical Almanac' in 1766 and continued the supervision of the almanac until his death; John Flamsteed (1646-1719) founder of the Greenwich Observatory, and the first Astronomer Royal of England; and Jonas Moore (1627-1679) famous for his strong support of mathematics and astronomy which made many other mathematical and astronomical advances possible.
This website deals with the life and work of the Greek mathematician, Euclid (c. 300 BC). The site has been compiled by Donald Lancon, a freelance mathematical enthusiast who was educated at the University of Houston in the United States. The site consists mainly of an extended essay prepared by Lancon while he was a student at Houston. This includes biographical information about Euclid, which would be of general interest to classicists and ancient historians. Source references are given throughout. The site deals in some detail with Euclid's contributions to geometry and mathematics, paying particular attention to the Elements. This work by Euclid deals with topics including plane geometry, solid geometry and number theory. The site also provides a detailed bibliography of suggestions for further study relating to works on Euclid and other aspects of Greek mathematics.
The Jordanus database comes from a collaboration between the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and the Institute for the History of Science in Munich. Its main focus is on mathematical manuscripts of all western languages written before 1500 - they claim to now have incorporated the majority of those, more than 13,000 - but a good number of manuscripts from neighbouring science disciplines plus non-science material can be found there as well. Records can be searched for not only by name and author but also by several other fields, like the library that currently houses it, the city in which the library is situated or language or year. Even a shelfmark search is possible. The whole website interface is bilingual in German and English.
This website makes available a hypertext version of Jacques Siboni's book "Les Mathèmes de Lacan". In the 1950s, the French philosopher and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan began to produce a series of texts that, rereading Freud in the light of recent developments in linguistics and phenomenology, revolutionised not only psychoanalysis but also many other disciplines in the human sciences. One of Lacan's most controversial and oft-criticised strategies was the use of mathematics and diagrams in his theoretical work. Les Mathèmes de Lacan attempts to help the reader of Lacan's frequently difficult texts navigate this mathematical terminology. Although the introductory matter is in both French and English, the text itself is only available in French.
This site, from the University of St Andrews, is a very useful resource in the history of mathematics. As well as chronologies and birthplace maps, the site contains biographies of hundreds of mathematicians, from ancient times to modern, indexed alphabetically. There are also around forty articles on disparate topics in the history of mathematics, and numerous diagrams and histories of famous mathematical curves. Some of the curves analysed include, Cayley's Sextic, Involute of a Circle, Newton's Parabolas and the Witch of Agnesi. An interactive exploration of the curves is possible. A keyword search of the archive is available and while the site's presentation is fairly basic, it is straightforward and user-friendly. This site received a Britannica award for quality.
Todd Hammond's (Truman State University) impressive Mathematics and the Liberal Arts site, is a substantial list of annotated resources focused on the relationship between the mathematical sciences and their impact and interaction with other non-scientific disciplines. Directed towards advanced students and teachers on the history and philosophy of science, the bibliographic citations listed here are organized by geography, but can be restricted into increasingly specific categories by selecting the appropriate link at the head of the page such as nation, epoch, mathematical subset, and even individual philosophers and/or mathematicians. While the annotations are extremely helpful in locating good resources on the history of mathematics, navigation of the site is not as accommodating as one would hope. The citations are not stored in a larger database but pre-set into different web pages and no search utility has been provided which would allow users to quickly locate references. To find information on a specific topic one must move through the geographical links at the top of the page. Users should also note that the link above leads to the section on European mathematics, for the specific starting page to this resource, if it exists, has proved to be elusive. If you are struggling to locate a reference and comfortable navigating by using the file directory, it can be found at the following address: http://math.truman.edu/~thammond/history/.
'The Measurers' is a painting formerly attributed to Hendrik van Balen but now simply agreed to be by a Flemish artist of the late sixteenth century. It displays a number of people engaged in common activities, and represents the usefulness of mathematics in a range of everyday situations. The painting formed the focus of a special exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford during 1996. This website was written to accompany the exhibition. The website is divided into three main sections: the mathematicians, the measurers, and the collectors. The first section looks at Renaissance concepts of art, science, and nature; the second examines the mathematical elements of each activity displayed in the painting; the third discusses the connoisseurs who developed collections of mathematical instruments. Each section links to relevant entries in the museum's catalogue, with images of manuscripts and artefacts. A separate page lists the figures accompanying the exhibition. The images and figures have been scanned at high resolution, and may be magnified at two levels. The website also contains a bibliography.
Constructed by James McNelis (Wilmington College), the Medieval Science Page is a quick-reference online gateway to a host of topics related to scientific development, primarily between the fifth and fifteenth centuries. The gateway focuses predominantly on European discoveries and innovations, and includes links to sites dealing with such topics as alchemy, astronomy, botany, calendrics, cartography, mathematics, physics and scientific instruments. The site is best used as a general starting point for students interested in a specific scientific discipline during the Middle Ages, as it does not provide a comprehensive list of electronic resources currently available, nor resources focused on methodological or philosophical issues that affected scientific development. However, by following the many links, one should be able to move to increasingly specific resources off-site.
The Needham Research Institute is a 'recognised global centre' for the study of East-Asian science, technology and medicine. It is also the home of the Science and Civilisation in China Project, and the East Asian History of Science Library. Its holdings offer a unique reference collection of primary and secondary source material and are open to all scholars. Full details for visiting are on the site, which acts as a comprehensive introduction to the Institute, with information on all aspects of its materials. The site may be searched though links on the home page for information on: research opportunities and studentships; Joseph Needham; the Library holdings; the SCC project; seminars; publications; and the Institute newsletter. Of most direct online use to advanced researchers may be Christopher Cullen's complete translation of 'The Suan Shu Shu'. These are the earliest known Chinese writings on mathematics and are translated with an introductory essay and full commentary, which may be downloaded in its entirety free of charge as a PDF file. This site is clearly presented and offers both an accessible introduction to the collection of the Needham Institute and valuable online material also.
The National Cryptologic Museum holds a large collection of machines, books, and other artefacts relating to cryptography and code-breaking. Situated in Maryland, USA, the Museum is dedicated to 'the exploitation of enemy cryptology and the protection of American communications'. Exhibits include German Enigma machines used in the Second World War, a cipher-wheel that may or may not have been connected with Thomas Jefferson, early computers, and a collection of rare books. There are also several special exhibitions described and illustrated at the website. The site provides an interesting overview of some of the technologies used in the intelligence industry.
The Papers of Thomas Reid is an online archive of images scanned from Reid's manuscripts held at the University of Aberdeen, known as the Birkwood Collection (MSS. 2131/1-8). Reid (1710-1796) was an eighteenth-century divine and philosopher, concerned in particular with questions of ethics and epistemology but who also wrote and published works on logic and the arts. The Birkwood collection contains over 800 items altogether, 7 of which are available in full from this website. The materials here published are principally concerned with Euclidian mathematics. The images of the manuscript pages are scanned at a high resolution, and will therefore take time to download to computers with slow Internet connections. Strangely, no plain text versions of the manuscripts are given. The size of images does however render the script very readable (Reid was blessed with unusually modern and neat handwriting for an eighteenth-century scholar).This site will prove useful to scholars working on Reid who cannot get to view these manuscripts in person, and it is to be hoped that the University of Aberdeen will continue to add to the online collection.
This Web page is part of the Cambridge University Library Online Collection and offers digital images from Blaise Pascal's 'Traité du triangle arithmétique' of 1654. The treatise arose from Pascal's correspondence with Pierre de Fermat about games of chance, and its background is explained fully in an introduction, which may be downloaded from the site as a PDF file. This introduction also analyses the form and content of the treatise, with an overview of the arguments and theories Pascal puts forward. It is based on a chapter by A. W. F. Edwards from 'The Cambridge Guide to Pascal', edited by Nicholas Hammond, and also suggests an earlier work by Edwards for further reading. The digitised images of Pascal's French text are accessed as a virtual reading experience, which uses arrows to move through the book page-by-page. This is a slow process, requiring a high resolution screen and very good eyesight for full appreciation, but clearly offers valuable access to an important and rare primary source, which will be of use to any researcher interested in Pascal, or the development of mathematical theory.
Through the "Portsmouth and Macclesfiedl Collections" website, Cambridge University Library makes available digital images of important material relating to the life and work of Sir Isaac Newton. These documents are taken from the Portsmouth and Macclesfield collections, which contain Newton's correspondence and notes, together with copy letters and scientific papers. They cover the period 1606 to 1742, and include material on: gravitation; the Principia Mathematica; calculus; comets; optics; and chemistry. They thus reflect the breadth and depth of Newton's scientific interests. Other correspondents are represented in the collections, such as: Christiaan Huygens; Henry Oldenburg; Edmund Halley; Samuel Fermat; Robert Hooke; and many others. These manuscripts illuminate the development of scientific method and understanding in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in the context of the work of members of the Royal Society and their European peers and correspondents. The documents often include diagrams drawn by the authors. Each document is digitised in full. The site can be searched by author, year, and language, or browsed using the drop-down menus provided in the search fields. Search results are presented as a list; each item links to a page showing thumbnails of the document images, each of which can be clicked to show a larger image. The document images are of high quality, but cannot be enlarged further and there is no zoom function. This is slightly unfortunate, as in many documents the script is small in size and can be hard to decipher. Each document is accompanied by brief bibliographic information. This web resource is aimed at researchers and research students and is presented with very little contextualising information, but the material itself is most rich and valuable.
This Web page introduces the life and achievements of the mathematician George Boole (1815-1864), now regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern computing. Boole gave his name to Boolean logic, a binary system used in digital technology and familiar to all modern programmers. The text is taken from a guidebook to Lincoln Cathedral, where there is a memorial stained-glass window to Boole, paid for by the dignitaries of the town. The site owner has added a short bibliography to the account of Boole's life, which includes a link to his seminal paper, 'The Calculus of Logic'.
The "Scientific Revolution" website is part of web page of Dr. Robert A. Hatch and is made available by the University of Florida. It provides access to a range of resources for the study and teaching of the Scientific Revolution, covering developments from Copernicus to Isaac Newton over the period 1550 to 1700. At the time of review, some links on the site were incomplete or broken. Nevertheless, the site presents much useful information about the resources available for the study of the Scientific Revolution and the scientists and thinkers involved. The site is divided into the following sections: Introduction; Overview and Background; Outlines, Timelines and Tools; Biography and the Scientific Revolution; Intermediate Resources; Research - Primary Texts; and Research - Early English Books Online. It is aimed at undergraduate students and teachers. The content available at the time of cataloguing included: an introductory essay discussing the concept of periodisation in relation to the Scientific Revolution; bibliographic essays by Robert Hatch and Richard Westfall; an account of basic concepts of various world and cosmological systems, from the Aristotelian cosmos to Newton; timelines; bibliographies of secondary and important primary material; and a guide to online resources, in particular Early English Books Online and Gallica. Hatch's "History of Science Study Guide", which covers developments in astronomy and related scientific disciplines from pre-scientific times to Newton, is a very useful overview. The site also makes available Richard Westfall's browsable prosopographical list of over 600 individuals involved in the scientific community. This is a valuable tool and will be of use to students and researchers. The study guide and account of cosmological concepts will also be of considerable interest to those involved in the history of science in the early modern period. The bibliographical material will be of use to all students of the subject. There is no indication of updates and the site seems to be archived.
The website 'University of Bristol Special Collections' describes the special collections held by the University of Bristol Library. Covering a wide range of subjects the collections derive from a wide range of subject-specific personal and institutional libraries donated to the university. Particular strengths are in the history of architecture, non-conformist Christian movements, science and medicine as well as rare books, political pamphlets and social history. Other collections include various family archives, often related to the history of Bristol and the nationally important collection of material relating to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The site informs about catalogues and archives and gives guidance regarding library policy and practical things to know for users.
This website brings together the various artefact and archive collections held at the University of Dundee. Accredited by the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council, the collections include botany; chemistry; dentistry; civil, electrical and mechanical engineering; ethnography; fine and applied art; mathematics; medicine; physics; physiology; psychology and zoology. Objects within the collections would obviously be of interest to those studying the history of these disciplines and the website describes the origins of each collection and includes illustrated highlights, as well as information on viewing objects, through regular exhibitions in University premises, which are archived here.
The University of Michigan Historical Mathematics Collection contains the digitised texts of a large number of nineteenth and early twentieth-century maths books by various authors. Each book has been scanned and stored page by page in PDF format. The site allows complex full-text searching of the entire collection, as well as browsing by author name. Full bibliographical details of each work are included. As a bonus, the site also contains a recording of satirist Tom Lehrer singing about Lobachevsky.
This website describes the special collections held at the University of York. Although the university has only been building its collections for a short time, they already rival much older libraries. They are particularly strong in the humanities, including a wide range of rare books, from a number of gentlemanly and parish libraries, supplemented by the personal collections of a number of authors and researches associated with the university. These are supplemented by collections of twentieth century literature, copies of scores bequeathed by Aaron Copeland and numerous microfilm collections. Anyone is free to consult items in situ at the university, and they are recorded in its online catalogue.