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This program was offered in the past. This program might be offered again, but to be certain contact the organizing institution of this program. For current programs view all programs, or see the current offer by University of Cambridge.

History of early modern mathematics (1200-1700)

University of Cambridge

Online program

Innovations in mathematics over these five centuries caused revolutions in European civilisation and science - several times. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, algebraic geometry and what they called Rational Mechanics or the mathematics of the infinite (you call it the calculus) changed the West's economy and technology and science repeatedly. This history is a story of developments in mathematics that came about for all sorts of accidental and incidental reasons, changed the economy of Europe, created capitalism, gave rise to the ambitions underlying modern science, and created the most powerful analytical tool known to humans. 

Course Programme

Session timings are below.

Please plan to arrive online shortly before each session is due to begin.

Friday 13 November, 6.30pm: Muslim inheritance, new tech and ancient wisdom, universities, logic and symbols, and Leonardo (not da Vinci) and capitalism
Saturday 14 November, 6.30pm: Renaissance maths, status of the Greeks, and the power of mathematics; Brunelleschi, engineers, and mathematics as a window on the mind of God
Sunday 15 November, 6.30pm: Geometry, recovery of Archimedes, ambitious engineers, the diversity of mathematical practices
Monday 16 November, 6.30pm: Where did algebra really come from? Cubics, printing books and notation
Tuesday 17 November, 6.30pm: Going beyond the ancients (i): infinitesimals, the missing heuristic, and maths gone rogue
Wednesday 18 November, 6.30pm: Going beyond the ancients (ii): Cartesian algebraic geometry, a hidden heuristic? The search for a Theory of Everything (the GAGTOC)
Thursday 19 November, 6.30pm: New maths, new physics, new cosmology, new science, new world. It's called force and here are its equations.

Additional requirements

ICE (Institute of Continuing Education) is committed to providing equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality. We aim to support and encourage under-represented groups, promote an inclusive culture, and value diversity.
Further information about student support.

Course materials

A book list, course syllabus and detailed timetable are circulated as far as possible in advance of a course. You will receive these documents by email if you have provided us with your email address; please check your spam folder if you have not received these documents.

13 Nov 2020 - 19 Nov 2020
Levels Bachelor / Undergraduate
Master / Graduate
Credits None
Program fee 200 GBP
Accommodation Not offered
Application deadline 9 November 2020
Entry requirements None
Contact information: