## Abstracts for talks by J. Tattersall

MAA INDIANA SECTION MEETING, APRIL 1-2, 2005
Friday Abstract:

THREE MATHEMATICAL VIGNETTES; MILLENNIAL, PONTIFICAL, AND NYCTAGINACEOUS

Two first century (A.D.) manuscripts, the *Introduction to
Arithmetic*, by Nicomachus of Gerasa and *Mathematics Useful for
Understanding Plato* by Theon of Smyrna were the main sources of
knowledge of formal Greek arithmetic in the Middle Ages. The books are
philosophical in nature, contain few original results and no formal
proofs. They abound, however, in intriguing number theoretic
observations. We discuss and extend some of the results found in these
ancient volumes. Secondly, we discuss the mathematics of Gerbert the
Great, a tenth century educator. We end with the achievements and
adventures of Louis Antoine de Bougainville, mathematician, explorer,
and student of D'Alembert.

Saturday Abstract:
EPISODES IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE LUCASIAN CHAIR

In 1663, Henry Lucas, the long-time secretary to the Chancellor of the
University of Cambridge, made a bequest, subsequently granted by
Charles II, to endow a chair in mathematics. A number of conditions
were attached to the Chair. Among the more prominent Lucasian
professors were Newton, Babbage, Stokes, Dirac, and Hawking. We focus
attention on the early Lucasians. Many of whom were very diligent in
carrying out their Lucasian responsibilities but as history has shown
such was not always the case. In the process, we uncover several
untold stories and some interesting mathematics.

Jim Tattersall received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from
the University of Virginia in 1963, a Master's degree in mathematics
from the University of Massachusetts in 1965, and a Ph.D. degree in
mathematics from the University of Oklahoma in 1971. On a number of
occasions he has been a visiting scholar at the Department of Pure
Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University. He
spent the summer of 1991 as a visiting mathematician at the American
Mathematical Society. In 1995-1996, he spent eighteen months as a
visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was
given awards for distinguished service (1992) and distinguished
college teaching (1997) from the Northeastern Section of the MAA. He
is former President of Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of
Mathematics, the Archivist/Historian of NES/MAA, and the Associate
Secretary of the Mathematical Association of America.

**Back to the Spring 2005 Indiana MAA meeting page**