Carl Benjamin Boyer
Carl Benjamin Boyer | |
---|---|
Born |
Hellertown, Pennsylvania, U.S.^{[1]} |
November 3, 1906
Died |
April 26, 1976 New York, New York, U.S. |
(aged 69)
Nationality | United States |
Occupation | Historian of mathematics |
Carl Benjamin Boyer (November 3, 1906 – April 26, 1976) was an American historian of sciences, and especially mathematics. Novelist David Foster Wallace called him the "Gibbon of math history".^{[2]} It has been written that he was one of few historians of mathematics of his time to "keep open links with contemporary history of science."^{[3]}
Life and career
Boyer was valedictorian of his high school class. He received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1928 and an M.A. in 1929. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Columbia University in 1939.^{[1]} He was a full professor of Mathematics at the City University of New York's Brooklyn College from 1952 until his death, although he had begun tutoring and teaching at Brooklyn College in 1928.^{[1]}
Along with Carolyn Eisele of CUNY's Hunter College; C. Doris Hellman of the Pratt Institute, and later CUNY's Queens College; and Lynn Thorndike of Columbia University, Boyer was instrumental in the 1953 founding of the Metropolitan New York Section of the History of Science Society.^{[4]}
In 1954, Boyer was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship to further his work in the history of science. In particular, the grant made reference to "the history of the theory of the rainbow".^{[5]}
Boyer wrote the books The History of the Calculus and Its Conceptual Development (1959),^{[6]} originally published as The Concepts of the Calculus (1939),^{[7]} History of Analytic Geometry (1956),^{[8]} The Rainbow: From Myth to Mathematics (1959),^{[9]} and A History of Mathematics (1968).^{[10]} He served as book-review editor of Scripta Mathematica.^{[11]}
Boyer died of a heart attack in New York City in 1976.
In 1978, Boyer's widow, the former Marjorie Duncan Nice, a professor of history,^{[12]} established the Carl B. Boyer Memorial Prize, to be awarded annually to a Columbia University undergraduate for the best essay on a scientific or mathematical topic.^{[13]}
References
Notes
- ^ ^{a} ^{b} ^{c} Dauben, Joseph Warren and Scriba, Christoph J. (2002) Writing the history of mathematics: its historical development, Birkhäuser. Cf. pp.380-381 for the biography of Boyer.
- ^ Wallace, David Foster. "An excerpt from Everything and More". Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- ^ Gray, Jeremy (2016) "Histories of Modern Mathematics in English in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s" in Remmert, Volker R.; Schneider, Martina; and Kragh Sørensen, Henrik (eds.) Historiography of Mathematics in the 19th and 20th Centuries Birkhäuser. p.161. ISBN 9783319396491
- ^ Gleason, Mary Louise (1999) "The Metropolitan New York Section of the History of Science Society", Isis, Vol. 90, Supplement: Catching up with the Vision: Essays on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the History of Science Society, pp. S200-S218. University of Chicago Press on behalf of The History of Science Society
- ^ Staff (May 3, 1954) "Guggenheim Fund Grants $1,000,000" The New York Times
- ^ WorldCat.org OCLC=916224186
- ^ Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=8312338
- ^ Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=7462342
- ^ Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=3111320
- ^ Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=3121041
- ^ Scripta Mathematica. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
- ^ Unknown (March 21, 2010) "Marjorie Boyer" (paid obituary), The New York Times
- ^ "Columbia College Bulletin:Prizes and Fellowships". Retrieved 2009-02-20.
Further reading
- Boyer, Carl B. (August 30–September 6, 1950). Lecture: "The Foremost Textbook of Modern Times." International Congress of Mathematicians, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Retrieved on 2009-02-20.
- Boyer, Carl B. (1949). The history of the calculus and its conceptual development Hafner Publishing Company, New York, ed. Dover 1959. Retrieved on 2010-03-30.