CNRS-NYU Inaugural Workshop on Early Mathematics

This just in:

CNRS-NYU Inaugural Workshop on Early Mathematics

November 24 and 25th, 2008

New York University's new Institute for the Study of the 
Ancient World (ISAW) has made a major commitment to the study of the mathematical sciences in antiquity through the appointment of Alexander Jones as Professor of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity. The CNRS research group REHSEIS (Recherches épistémologiques et historiques sur les sciences exactes et les institutions scientifiques) has from its beginnings developed research on mathematics in ancient Asia (China: K. Chemla, India: A. Keller, Mesopotamia: C. Proust).

Within the context of the recently set up NYU—CNRS Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social sciences (UMI 3199), ISAW and REHSEIS intend to join forces and develop a joint research program on the mathematcal sciences in antiquity. The workshop marks the beginning of this collaborative effort. It aims at exploring the hypothesis that resituating mathematical developments in the context of distinct professional groups is an essential goal if we are to restore the variety of mathematical practices in the past and thereby to identify more easily instances and modes of transmission between professional milieus and geographical regions of the ancient Old World.

If you wish to attend the workshop, please contact Alexander Jones (, 212 992-7816). Space is limited.


Monday, November 24, at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 15 E. 84th Street

9:00 A.M.: Coffee

9:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
  • Karine Chemla (REHSEIS, CNRS & University Paris Diderot P. 7)
    Introductory words
  • Christine Proust (REHSEIS)
    Structure of series texts: a new approach of cuneiform mathematical corpus
  • John Steele (Brown University)
    Shadows in Babylonian Astronomy
  • Agathe Keller (REHSEIS)
    Reflecting on the different social groups that produced mathematical knowledge and texts in ancient India: different research perspectives, with a special emphasis on the history of versified problems and the perspective they open.
1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.: Lunch (buffet)

2:30 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.
  • Toke Knudsen (SUNY)
    The Direction of Down and Adhesive Antipodeans: Tradition and Innovation in Medieval Indian Astronomy
  • Michio Yano (Kyoto Sangyo University)
    Buddhist astronomy and astrology
  • Karine Chemla (REHSEIS)
    Writing down texts for algorithms: views from ancient China
Tuesday, November 25, at the NYU/CNRS International Research Center, 4 Washington Square North, 2nd floor

9:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
  • Alexander Jones (ISAW, NYU)
    Introductory words
  • Markus Asper (NYU)
    Narratives in Greek Mathematics?
  • Joe Dauben (CUNY)
    Archimedes and Liu Hui on Circles and Spheres
  • Alexander Jones (ISAW, NYU)
    Parapegma puzzles: reconstructing Greek documents on stellar risings and setting

Digital Archimedes Palimpsest

This just in:

Ten years ago today, a private American collector purchased the Archimedes Palimpsest. Since that time he has guided and funded the project to conserve, image, and study the manuscript. After ten years of work, involving the expertise and goodwill of an extraordinary number of people working around the world, the Archimedes Palimpsest Project has released its data. It is a historic dataset, revealing new texts from the ancient world. It is an integrated product, weaving registered images in many wavebands of light with XML transcriptions of the Archimedes and Hyperides texts that are spatially mapped to those images. It has pushed boundaries for the imaging of documents, and relied almost exclusively on current international standards. We hope that this dataset will be a persistent digital resource for the decades to come. We also hope it will be helpful as an example for others who are conducting similar work. It published under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution license, to ensure ease of access and the potential for widespread use. A complete facsimile of the revealed palimpsested texts is available on Googlebooks as "The Archimedes Palimpsest." It is hoped that this is the first of many uses to which the data will be put.

For information on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, please visit:

For the dataset, please visit:

We have set up a discussion forum on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project. Any member can invite anybody else to join. If you want to become a member, please email:

I would be grateful if you would circulate this to your friends and colleagues.

Thank you very much
Will Noel
The Walters Art Museum
October 29th, 2008.
I found it a bit tricky to find the Google Books version of this, so here's the link.

The DH Stack(s)

Lots of interesting posts in the last couple of days about Digital Humanities skills, software and cyberinfrastructure initiatives:

Tom Tartaron on "Mycenean Coastal Worlds" in Huntsville, 2 October 2008

On Thursday, 2 October, at 7:30 p.m. the North Alabama Society of the Archaeological Institute of America will host a lecture by Prof. Tom Tartaron (Dept. of Classics, University of Pennsylvania) entitled "Mycenean Coastal Worlds." Tartaron is co-director of the Saronic Harbors Archaeological Research Project, which is studying the "first ever positively identified Mycenean harbor" and fortified port town at a site on the Saronic Gulf now called Kalamianos (Penn Current Research article; Penn Museum News article).

The lecture will be held in the Chan Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (map, courtesy UAHuntsville Theatre).