“I thought of a History of Mathematics that established clearly the results achieved by each mathematician and placed him in the historical, cultural and political context”

Josep Pla i Carrera, academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED) professor emeritus of the University of Barcelona (UB), will present at the Academy his magnum opus “Història de la matemàtica: resultats, textos i contexts” (History of mathematics: results, texts and contexts), an ambitious project directed by the full academician of the RAED and also professor emeritus of the UB Pilar Bayer and edited by the Institute of Catalan Studies that comes to be a complete history of mathematics.

The work is divided, for now, in six volumes that only reach the mathematics of Antiquity and that should have a continuity not yet defined. To date, the volumes “Història de la Matemàtica: Egipte i Mesopotàmia. Resultats, Texts i Contexts” (History of Mathematics: Egypt and Mesopotamia. Results, Texts and Contexts) (2016) and “Història de la Matemàtica: Grècia I (de Tales i Pitàgores a Plató i Aristòtil). Resultats, textos i contextos” (History of Mathematics: Greece I (from Tales and Pythagoras to Plato and Aristotle).

Josep Pla i Carrera

Dr. Josep Pla i Carrera

Results, Texts and Contexts) have been published. It’s pending to come to light “Història de la Matemàtica: Grècia IIa (Elements d’Euclides, llibres I, II, III, IV, V i VI)” (History of Mathematics: Greece IIa (Elements of Euclid, books I, II, III, IV, V and VI)) and is in the process of editing “Història de la Matemàtica: Grècia IIb (Elements d’Euclides, llibres VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII i XIII)” (History of Mathematics: Greece IIb ( Elements of Euclid, books VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII and XIII)).

The academician has also begun the writing of the next issue, which will be titled “Història de la Matemàtica: Grècia III” (History of Mathematics: Greece III). The first part, which groups the studies of Euclides and Archimedes, is already finished, and the volume will be finalized throughout the first quarter of 2019 with the inclusion of Apolonius. It will be followed by a future volume on mathematics in Ancient Greece that will include the studies of Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Pappus, Nicomachus, Diophantus, Theon and Hypatia.

“When I was proposed as professor emeritus I was driven to develop a study project that would validate my suitability and I thought it was a good opportunity to make a History of Mathematics in which the results obtained by each mathematician were clearly established, placed him in the historical, cultural and political context and, most importantly, that each relevant statement is justified by providing the document that endorses it, by a philosopher, a historian or the author himself”, explains Pla i Carrera the genesis of the project.