Oberwolfach Reports


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Volume 6, Issue 4, 2009, pp. 2647–2672
DOI: 10.4171/OWR/2009/47

Published online: 2010-09-01

History and Philosophy of Mathematical Notations and Symbolism

Karine Chemla[1], Eberhard Knobloch[2] and Antoni Malet[3]

(1) Université Paris 7, France
(2) Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
(3) Universitat Pompeu-Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

The conference aimed to discuss the nature of mathematical language with the focus set on the history of mathematical symbolism and symbolisation in a wide sense. Its contents were arranged along three main topics—symbolization from Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Latin, Indian and Chinese perspectives; algebraic analysis and symbolization in Europe, 1500–1750; the 19th and 20th century. The intention was to deal with the topic extensively, including all kinds of symbolism shaped in various traditions. Major problems addressed by the conference include but are not limited to why specific notations and symbolisms were introduced, how they were designed and how they were used. In addition, the lectures also dealt with the attitudes towards, and reflections on, mathematics and language that their introduction stirred. We hope that the workshop will contribute to shape future research in this domain.

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Chemla Karine, Knobloch Eberhard, Malet Antoni: History and Philosophy of Mathematical Notations and Symbolism. Oberwolfach Rep. 6 (2009), 2647-2672. doi: 10.4171/OWR/2009/47