# Works on the History of Mathematics

The History of Mathematics is usually taught from a very Western-centric point of view. Without a doubt the Greek contributions were huge, but once you open your mind to the fact that mathematical truth can and has been discovered by many routes other than Euclid-style proofs (think of calculus in the 17th-18th century), you find a much richer picture in which Mesopotamia, India and China all developed deep mathematical ideas, sometimes before, sometimes after similar ideas appeared in the West.

I have been studying Indian math in particular, which is astonishing in both its similarities and differences from the West (see my review of Plofker's recent book *Mathematics in India*).

The background is my wife's photo of the Arabian desert, to evoke Mesopotamia, the place of the first great explosion of math.

- Course notes from a 2006 Brown survey course in "math for non-math majors" that followed its historical development in the West: Click here (the notes only cover the first 2/3rds of the course as I ran out of steam).
- Art, Mathematics and the
*Zeitgeist*: parallels between the two most international disciplines, Lecture at the Festival of Mathematics, Rome, March 15, 2008. pdf of talk. - Henri's Crystal Ball (with Phil Davis),
*Notices of the AMS*,**55**, 2008, pp. 458-466. Link to notices OR Digital reprint - Review of
*Mathematics in India*by Kim Plofker,*Notices of the AMS*, 2010, pp. 385-390. Link to notices OR Digital reprint - What's so Baffling about Negative Numbers -- a Cross-Cultural Comparison, in
*Studies in the History of Indian Mathematics*, C. S. Seshadri editor, Hindustan Book Agency (distr. in US by AMS), 2010.Digital reprint - The Invention of Algebra as Reification, talk at a meeting on "Mathematics in Ancient Times", Calicut, India, 2010. Powerpoint of Talk
- Intuition and Rigor and Enriques's Quest,
*Notices of the AMS*,**58**, 2011, pp. 250-260. Link to notices OR Digital reprint - "Yu laid out the lands": georeferencing the Chinese Yujitu [Map of the Tracks of Yu] of 1136 (with Alexander Akin),
*Cartography and Geographic Information Science Journal*, 2012.Digital reprint - My introduction to functors and schemes, in
*Alexandre Grothendieck: A Mathematical Portrait*, edited by Leila Schneps. Digital manuscript

I also include here my appreciations of friends' and colleague's work, one for the Field's medal and others who have passed away:

- Oscar Zariski: 1899-1986, in the
*Notices of the American Math. Society*,**33**, 1986, pp.891-894. With help from Michael Artin, I recently put together a more complete obituary for the National Academy of Science: pdf file - An Instinct for the Key Idea (with John Tate),
*Science*, 1979,**202**, pp.737-739.

Scanned reprint - The work of C. P. Ramanujam in algebraic geometry, in
*C. P. Ramanujam, a Tribute*, T.I.F.R. 1978, pp.8-10. Scanned reprint - In Memoriam: Professor George R. Kempf 1944-2002,
*Amer. Journal of Mathematics*, vol. 124, pp.ii-iii, 2002. Digital reprint - George Mackey,
*Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society*,**152**pp.559-563, 2008. Digital reprint - Andrew Gleason,
*Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society*,**154**pp.471-476, 2010. Scanned reprint - Glimpses of Benoit Mandelbrot,
*Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc.*,**59**, p. 1057; The influence of Benoit Mandelbrot,*Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc.*,**59**, pp. 1212-1213; Originally I wrote this as one tribute: here is the Digital manuscript - Remembering Raoul Bott,
*Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc.*,**60**, pp. 401-402. Here is the full obituary: Digital reprint