Current and recent PhD students
My research focuses on the origin of the tangent function as a key idea in the history of trigonometry in Islamic, Sanskrit, Latin, and early modern sources. I not only consider textual sources, including works by al-Biruni, Abu’l-Wafa’, al-Khwarizmi, al-Battani, and Habash al-Hasib, but consider evidence from data in numerical tables, and physical artefacts such as sundials, gnomons, and astrolobes.
Rev. Jambugahapitiye Dhammaloka
My research examines the use of mathematical concepts and operations in the context of the broader exact sciences in second millennium India, in astral sciences and śilpa literature (the literature on architecture, sculpture, and paintings in Sanskrit) in particular. It is based on a Sanskrit treatise called Siddhāntaśekhara, the first known work on mathematical astronomy in second millennia, written by Śrīpati, a prolific writer, in 11th Century AD. The 13th and 14th chapters of this work consisted of 92 verses altogether have been devoted to arithmetic and algebra respectively, and are very important in examining the mathematical history in the era. Critical edition and translation of these two chapters are the base of my research and technical analysis is being carried out with the help of traditional and modern mathematical methods.
My research focuses on mathematical and scientific exchanges that flourished at the Mughal court of seventeenth century India. I’m editing, translating, and analyzing a work on mathematical astronomy called the Sarvasiddhāntarāja (1639 CE), a Sanskrit treatise written by the Hindu astronomer Nityānanda, royal astronomer at court of Shāh Jāhān. This text is known to be amongst the first siddhāntic texts that incorporate Ptolemaic and Islamic astronomy within the Indian canonical tradition, and by critically examining the structural and mathematical content of the 132 verses that form the golādhyāya, I've been able get some insight into the modality of scientific exchanges that thrived during the reign of the Mughals.
My research concerns sangaku, mathematically orientated votive tablets appearing in Shinto and Buddhist Shrines all over Japan between the 17th and 19th centuries. I have travelled to many shrines in Japan to document these mathematical tablets and transcribe, translate, and analyse their mathematical contents. In particular I am interested in the ways in which the historical authors devised and solved the problems posed on these tablets using only mathematical techniques available at the time. I am also interested by the use and integration of the diagrams that appear on these tablets and how they stand in relation to the mathematical and aesthetic aspects of the historical artifact.
Recent Masters’ thesis students
- Sanaa Bajri, Arithmetic, Induction, and the Algebra of Polynomials; Al-Samaw’al and his “Splendid Book of Algebra (2010-11)
- Rosalie Hosking, The Entailment of Context-Dependence and Pluralism in Edo Period Mathematics (2010-11)
- James Davies, Changes of Setting and the History of Mathematics: A New Study of Frege(2009)
- Bronwyn Rideout, Pappus Reborn: Pappus of Alexandria and the changing face of analysis and synthesis in late antiquity (2009)