Image copyright University of St Andrews

Mathematical Biography:

A MacTutor Celebration

St Andrews University, Scotland

16th - 17th September 2016


Invited speakers include:

Jesuit astronomers with Kangxi Emperor 1690-1705, By Philippe Behagle (Beauvais, 1690-1705) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Contributed speakers:

Sofja Wassiljewna Kowalewskaja by Unknown [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons; Paul Dirac by Nobel Foundation [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Speaker Biographies

Philip Beeley


John Bibby


Nicholas Bingham

A.E.L. Davis

Dr Davis is a historian of mathematics and astronomy specializing in the theory of Kepler's astronomy. The Davis Archive was compiled while working at the Open University. Dr Davis is now an Honorary Research Associate at University College London and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Institute, Australian National University.    Abstract

Jacqueline Dewar

Jacqueline Dewar is professor emerita of mathematics, having retired in 2013 after 40 years at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, CA. She was a 2003-04 Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) scholar and 2006 Recipient of the Mathematical Association of America's Tepper Haimo Teaching Award. In her SoTL work, she has investigated student understanding of mathematical proof, future teachers' understanding of mathematics, the effects of adding a civic engagement component to a quantitative literacy course, and how an undergraduate course on 'women and mathematics' later influenced teachers' classroom practice relative to gender equity. She has co-authored collegiate level mathematics textbooks, published articles on mathematics education, SoTL, and faculty development, and presented SoTL workshops at regional, national, and international meetings. She co-edited (with Curtis Bennett) and contributed to the book, Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Mathematics, published in 2015 by the Mathematical Association of America.    Abstract

Graham Farmelo

Graham Farmelo is an international consultant in public engagement, and author. His biography of Paul Dirac, The Strangest Man (2009) won the UK Costa Prize for Biography (2010), and the Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize (2010). In 2013, he published Churchill’s Bomb. He has chaired two International Panels for the Irish Government to review public provision for science communication and education, advised the South Korean government on science communication policy, and authored strategy papers on public-science engagement for the UK government, the Wellcome Trust, and the Royal Society. He has appeared numerous times on BBC TV, e.g. ‘Secrets of Quantum Physics’, ‘Nothing’, ‘Beautiful Equations’ (BBC4) and BBC Radio 4, and has over 500 articles and reviews in The Times, Nature, New Scientist, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Times Higher Education. He is a Bye-Fellow of Churchill College, University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association.

Kris Grint

Kris Grint was until recently a research fellow at the Institute of Intellectual History, University of St Andrews, where he works on the history of political thought in Britain in the long eighteenth century. He is also responsible for the Intellectual History Archive, an online repository of the papers of eminent intellectual historians hosted in conjunction with the University Library. Prior to arriving at St Andrews, Kris worked at the Bentham Project at UCL, transcribing the manuscripts of the legal philosopher Jeremy Bentham and assisting in the development of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology to enable computers to read historical documents.    Abstract

Christopher Hollings

Christopher Hollings is a lecturer in the history of mathematics at the University of Oxford. His research interests include the development of abstract algebra; Soviet mathematic; East-West scientific communications during the Cold War; and the mathematics of Ada Lovelace.    Abstract

Eva Kaufholz

Eva Kaufholz is a research assistant and PhD student at the AG for the History of Mathematics and the Exact Sciences at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Her dissertation deals with the reception of the Russian mathematician Sofja Kowalewskaja (1850-1891), the focus being on the historic contextualization of biographical accounts and Kowalewskaja’s role in the discussions about the so called women’s question at the turn of the century.    Abstract

Jan Kotůlek

Jan Kotůlek is in the mathematics department at the VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic. His research interests are in the migration and emigration of mathematicians, mathematical communities in Czechoslovakia, and mathematics under the Nazi rule, on which he has published a number of papers.    Abstract

Ursula Martin

Ursula Martin is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, where she holds an EPSRC Research Fellowship. She has published around 50 papers in her main area of research, at the mathematics and computer science. With Dr Christopher Hollings (Oxford) and Professor Adrian Rice (Ralph Macon University) she is working on Ada Lovelace's mathematics, especially her "correspondence course" with Augustus De Morgan. A substantial manuscript is about to be submitted (March 2016), and thanks to the generosity of the Clay Mathematics Institute, a digitisation and transcription has recently been made available on-line at    Abstract

Dagmar Mrozik

Dagmar Mrozik is a research assistant and PhD student in the History of Science and Technology at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. For her dissertation project, she compiles a digital prosopography on Jesuit scholars in early modern science. Her further research interests include Jesuit mathematicians in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the frontispieces of Jesuit mathematical textbooks, and the use of digital methods in historical research and teaching.    Abstract

Sydney Padua

Sydney Padua is a cartoonist and visual effects artist. Her cult webcomic The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is now a bestselling graphic novel and won the 2105 BSHM Neumann Prize for general-audience book dealing with the history of mathematics. It combines extensive research with alternate-universe comic-book escapes, where Babbage's 1840s mechanical computer is finally completed and used to build runaway economic models, defeat spelling errors, and of course, fight crime. Her 3-d animations of how the Analytical Engine would have looked and operated are some of the first visualisations ever created of that extraordinary machine.

Laura Rodriguez

Laura Rodriguez has a degree in mathematics from the UNAM, Mexico, and a PhD in the history of mathematics from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. She is currently working at the University of Applied Sciences Fulda, Germany, carrying out research on Frigyes Riesz and the history of general topology and functional analysis.    Abstract

Edmund Robertson

Edmund Robertson's research interests were in computational algebra. His interest in the history of mathematics started through teaching undergraduates. With his colleague John O'Connor, he set up the MacTutor History of Mathematics website in 1994. He has written over 2,500 biographies for the MacTutor Archive. He has also published around 17 historical articles in journals or books, mostly co-authored with John O'Connor. He has received several awards for MacTutor including the Signum Pro Scientia Absoluta Vera from the Erdélyi Magyar Muszaki Tudományos Társaság (2008), the Comenius Medal by the Societas Comeniana Hungarica (2012) and the Hirst Prize and Lectureship from the London Mathematical Society (2015).

Michalis Sialaros

Michalis Sialaros is a postdoctoral fellow in the 'Philosophy, Science and the Sciences' research training group at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He has carried out extensive research on Euclid and Greek mathematics, on which he has published extensively. He has three books forthcoming on Euclid: a new English translation of the Elements; an edited volume onRevolutions and Continuity in Greek Mathematic; and a revisionist view of Euclid, Revisiting Euclid: a Contextual Study of Greek Mathematical Authorship.    Abstract

Richard Simpson

Richard Simpson is a retired mathematics teacher who now spends as much time travelling as his budget and companion will allow. His main interest is in matters classical, but forays into renaissance Italy and 17th century Britain have been known to occur. He served on the BSHM Council in various offices from 2006 to 2015.    Abstract

Steven Skiena

Steven Skiena is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University. His research interests include the design of graph, string, and geometric algorithms, and their applications (particularly to biology). He is the author of five books, including Who's Bigger? Where Historical Figures Really Rank (with Charles Ward), The Algorithm Design Manual and Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to Win.

Skiena received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in 1988, and is the author of over 150 technical papers. He is a former Fulbright scholar, and recipient of the ONR Young Investigator Award and the IEEE Computer Science and Engineer Teaching Award. More info at    Abstract

Henrik Kragh Sørensen

In his PhD in history of mathematics (Aarhus 2002), Henrik Kragh Sørensen studied the mathematical production of Niels Henrik Abel and situated it in a transition from 18th century formula-centred mathematics towards more concept-centred approaches to mathematics. Since then, Henrik has published on mathematics in Scandinavia during the 19th and 20th centuries and on Abel's mathematics and its legacy. He is currently working on a meta-biographical project studying biographical representations of Abel from 1829 to the present.    Abstract