Social History of Nineteenth Century Mathematics

  • Herbert Mehrtens
  • Henk Bos
  • Ivo Schneider

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Aspects of a Fundamental Change the Early Nineteenth Century

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Henk Bos
      Pages 3-5
    3. Hans Niels Jahnke, Michael Otte
      Pages 21-49
    4. Herbert Mehrtens, Henk Bos, Ivo Schneider
      Pages 50-71
  3. The Professionalization of Mathematics and Its Educational Context

  4. Individual Achievements in Social Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 197-197
    2. Henk Bos
      Pages 199-201
    3. Thomas Hawkins
      Pages 233-245
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 255-301

About this book


During the last few decades historians of science have shown a growing interest in science as a cultural activity and have regarded science more and more as part of the gene­ ral developments that have occurred in society. This trend has been less evident arnong historians of mathematics, who traditionally concentrate primarily on tracing the develop­ ment of mathematical knowledge itself. To some degree this restriction is connected with the special role of mathematics compared with the other sciences; mathematics typifies the most objective, most coercive type of knowledge, and there­ fore seems to be least affected by social influences. Nevertheless, biography, institutional history and his­ tory of national developments have long been elements in the historiography of mathematics. This interest in the social aspects of mathematics has widened recently through the stu­ dy of other themes, such as the relation of mathematics to the development of the educational system. Some scholars have begun to apply the methods of historical sociology of knowledge to mathematics; others have attempted to give a ix x Marxist analysis of the connection between mathematics and productive forces, and there have been philosophical studies about the communication processes involved in the production of mathematical knowledge. An interest in causal analyses of historical processes has led to the study of other factors influencing the development of mathematics, such as the f- mation of mathematical schools, the changes in the profes- onal situation of the mathematician and the general cultural milieu of the mathematical scientist.


Cambridge University Mathematica algebra history of mathematics mathematics

Editors and affiliations

  • Herbert Mehrtens
    • 1
  • Henk Bos
    • 2
  • Ivo Schneider
    • 3
  1. 1.Technische Universität BerlinBerlin 10Federal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Math. InstituutRijksuniversiteit UtrechtBudapestlaan 6The Netherlands
  3. 3.Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Deutsches MuseumUniversität MünchenMünchen 26Federal Republic of Germany

Bibliographic information