
Ivor GrattanGuinness, born 23 June 1941, in Bakewell, in England, is a historian of mathematics and logic.
He gained his Bachelor degree as a Mathematics Scholar at Wadham College, Oxford, got an M.Sc(Econ) in Mathematical Logic and the Philosophy of Science at the London School of Economics in 1966. He has gained both the doctorate (Ph.D.) in 1969, and higher doctorate (D.Sc.) 1978, in the History of Science at the University of London. He is Emeritus Professor of the History of Mathematics and Logic at Middlesex University, and a Visiting Research Associate at the London School of Economics.
He was awarded the prestigious Kenneth O. May Medal for services to the History of Mathematics by the International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) on 31st July 2009, at Budapest, on the occasion of the 23rd International Congress for the History of Science.
He spent much of his career at Middlesex University. He has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and is a member of the Academie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences.
From 1974 to 1981 he was editor of the history of science journal Annals of Science. In 1979 he founded the journal History and Philosophy of Logic, and edited it until 1992. He was an associate editor of Historia Mathematica for twenty years from its inception in 1974, and again from 1996.
He also acts as advisory editor to the editions of the writings of C.S. Peirce and Bertrand Russell, and to several other journals and book series. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics from 1977 to 1993.
He has given over 570 invited lectures to organisations and societies, or to conferences and congresses, in over 20 countries around the world. These lectures include tours undertaken in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, South Africa and Portugal.
From 1986 to 1988 he was the President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, and for 1992 the VicePresident. In 1991 he was elected an effective member of the Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences. He was the Associate Editor for mathematicians and statisticians for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).
The work of GrattanGuinness touches on all historical periods, but he specialises in the development of the calculus and mathematical analysis, and their applications to mechanics and mathematical physics, and in the rise of set theory and mathematical logic. He has been especially interested in characterising how past thinkers, far removed from us in time, view their findings differently from the way we see them now (for example, Euclid). He has emphasised the importance of ignorance as an epistemological notion in this task. He has done extensive research with original sources both published and unpublished, thanks to his reading and spoken knowledge of the main European languages.
W.H. and G.C. Young, The theory of sets of points, 2nd edition (ed. with R.C.H. Tanner; 1972, New York: Chelsea). [Introduction and appendix.]
E.L. Post, ‘The modern paradoxes’, History and philosophy of logic, 11 (1990), 8591.
Philip E. B. Jourdain, Selected essays on the history of set theory and logics (19061918) (1991, Bologna: CLUEB), xlii + 352 pages. [Introduction and indexes.]
George Boole, Selected manuscripts on logic and its philosophy (ed. with G. Bornet, 1997, Basel: Birkhäuser), lxvi + 236 pages.[Part Introduction and editorial material.]
GrattanGuinness' The Search for Mathematical Roots
18701940 is a sweeping study of the rise of mathematical
logic during that critical period. The central theme of the
book is the rise of logicism, thanks to the efforts of Frege, Bertrand
Russell, and Whitehead, and its demise due to Gödel and
indifference. Whole chapters are devoted to the emergence of algebraic logic
in the 19th century UK, Cantor and the emergence of set theory, the emergence
of mathematical logic in Germany told
in a way that downplays Frege's importance, and to Peano and his followers.
There follow four chapters devoted to the ideas of the young
Bertrand Russell, the writing of Principia Mathematica, and
to the mixed reception its ideas and methods encountered over the
period 191040. The book touches on the rise of model theory as well
as proof theory,
and on the emergence of American research on the foundation of mathematics, especially in
the hands of Eliakim Hastings Moore and his
students, of the postulate theorists, and of Quine. While Polish logic is often
mentioned, it is not covered systematically. Finally, the book is a
contribution to the history of philosophy as well as
of mathematics.
Ivor GrattanGuinness (born 23 June 1941) is an English historian of mathematics and logic.
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