[ICMI-News] ICMI News 8: February 2009

J Carvalho e Silva jaimecs at mat.uc.pt
Wed Mar 11 01:52:59 CET 2009

ICMI News 8: February 2009

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the 
ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical 
Editor: Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Dep. Matematica, 
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal


1. Editorial: Resources and technology throughout the history of ICMI
2. The ICME-12 International Programme Committee
3. A new contract for the NISS series
4. Special Issue on the History of ICMI published by IJHME
5. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
6. Historical vignettes: Greenhill, the first vice-president of ICMI
7. Subscribing to ICMI News


1.  Editorial: Resources and technology throughout the history of ICMI

Besides the ICMI studies which have been 
presented in a former issues of the Newsletter, 
from time to time publications appear as 
milestones in the history of ICMI.

In the second half of 2008 two rich volumes have been published:
- The proceedings of ICME10 (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2004),
- The proceedings of the Symposium on the 
occasion of the 100th anniversary of ICMI.

They have been already mentioned in this 
Newsletter. The former in ICMI News 5; the latter 
in ICMI News 6.

As happens more and more often today, both 
volumes are accompanied by rich websites, that 
are exceptional tools for researchers and can be 
accessed free from everywhere. Yet, for my 
generation, the emotion of flipping the pages of 
a paper book is still worthy.

I shall focus this short note on one particular 
theme only, well represented in both volumes: 
resources and technology in mathematics education.

In the proceedings of Symposium, one of the 
working groups was devoted to this issue. In the 
historical reconstruction, what emerged clearly 
was that the emphasis on active involvement of 
students in laboratory activities was one of the 
leading forces towards the constitution of ICMI. 
The first president of ICMI, Felix Klein, can be 
credited with being a pioneer in proposing the 
use of technology in school. At the time of 
Klein, 'ancient' technology were the sole 
available (e. g. mechanical calculating machines 
and curve drawing devices, and, even, squared 
paper to plot experimental data). Today it is 
more common to refer to Information and 
Communication Technologies. In the working group, 
however, both voices were represented, in nearly 
equal relationship.

In the proceedings of ICME10 (and obviously in 
the forthcoming ICMI Study 17 on Mathematics 
Education and Technology-Rethinking the Terrain) 
the latter voice (ICT) plays the major or the 
sole role. In both cases what appeared clearly is 
that no resource or technology, by itself, can 
make students learn mathematics, as a cultural 
product of mankind, without the irreplaceable 
guide of a well prepared teacher. As always, 
hence, the professional education of teachers of 
mathematics comes in the foreground.

Main references:

Niss. M. & Emborg E. (eds.), (2008), Proceedings 
of the 10th International Congress on 
Mathematical Education, Roskilde (Dk): IMFUFA.

An electronic version is dowloadable from: 
The printed version (together with a CDrom with 
all the regular lectures) costs 50 euros 
(including shipment). The ordering form is 
available at the same address.

Menghini M., Furinghetti F., Giacardi L., 
Arzarello F. (eds.), (2008), The First Century of 
the International Commission on Mathematical 
Instruction (1908-2008): Reflecting and Shaping 
the World of Mathematics Education, Roma: 
Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.

The book costs 60 euros (reduced price for ICMI 
people 40 euros, including shipment). The 
ordering form is available at 
The rich website with the History of ICMI is at 

Mariolina Bartolini Bussi, Member-at-large EC 
ICMI, mariagiuseppina.bartolini at unimore.it


2.  The ICME-12 International Programme Committee

The Executive Committee of ICMI is pleased to 
announce that it has now completed the 
appointment of the International Programme 
Committee (IPC) for ICME-12.

The Committee is composed as follows:

Michèle ARTIGUE  (France), ex officio, President of ICMI
Évelyne BARBIN  (France)
Morten BLOMHOEJ  (Denmark)
Sung Je CHO  (Korea), Chair of the IPC
Johann ENGELBRECHT  (South Africa)
Bernard R. HODGSON  (Canada), ex officio, Secretary-General of ICMI
Gabriele KAISER  (Germany)
Mercy KAZIMA  (Malawi)
Petar KENDEROV  (Bulgaria)
Masataka KOYAMA  (Japan)
Oh Nam KWON  (Korea)
Frederick Koon-shing LEUNG  (Hong Kong SAR)
Hee-chan LEW  (Korea)
Shiqi LI  (China)
Cheryl PRAEGER  (Australia)
Marcela SANTILLÁN  (México)
Hyun Yong SHIN  (Korea), Chair of the Local Organising Committee
Yuriko YAMAMOTO BALDIN  (Brasil)

The ICME-12 IPC will have its first meeting on 
June 14-17 of this year. Any comment or 
suggestion about the format of the programme of 
ICME-12 or its content is most welcome and should 
be sent to the Chair of the IPC, Sung Je Cho 
(sungjcho at snu.ac.kr), no later than May 15.

The ICME-12 congress will be held in Seoul, Korea, on July 8-15, 2012.

Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary-General of ICMI, bhodgson at mat.ulaval.ca


3. A new contract for the NISS series

The Executive Committee of ICMI is pleased to 
announce that it has recently signed a new 
contract with Springer for the publication of the 
ICMI Study volumes in the "New ICMI Study Series" 

A major improvement of the new contract, which 
has been the object of intense negotiations with 
Springer for a number of years, is that ICMI is 
now entitled to post on its website a 
pre-publication open access version of the Study 
volumes, three years after they have appeared as 
books in the NISS series. This clause applies 
both to volumes already published in the NISS 
series and to future books.  We hope to see in a 
near future some concrete outcome of this new 
clause on the ICMI website.

ICMI has been able to keep some major clauses of 
the previous contracts, including the fact that 
the copyright on the Study volumes for any other 
language than English belongs to ICMI --- the 
only restriction being that an edition in another 
language should not appear until one year after 
the publication of the original book.  Members of 
the ICMI community interested in preparing a 
translation of (parts of) any book in the NISS 
series should contact me at their earliest 

Moreover the 60% discount for individual orders 
of the NISS volumes is still valid --- see ICMI 
News 7 (December 2008) for instructions on how to 
order the NISS volumes with the ICMI discount.

Also some free copies of each book in the NISS 
series are made available to ICMI for various 
purposes (including providing copies to the 
editors and main authors of the books).

Just as I had received for the ICMI archives, 
very recently, the final copy of the new NISS 
contract duly signed by all parties, it was 
announced that Marie M. Sheldon, Senior Editor 
for the Social Sciences with Springer and in 
charge of the NISS series, was moving to another 
position in the publication world.  I wish to use 
this opportunity to thank Marie for her superb 
collaboration over the years and to express her 
my very best wishes in her new responsibilities.

Information on the books published in the NISS 
series is available on the Springer website, 
through the series homepage:

Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary-General of ICMI, bhodgson at mat.ulaval.ca


4. Special Issue on the History of ICMI published by IJHME

IJHME, the International Journal for the History 
of Mathematics Education, published as its issue 
vol. 3 (2008), no. 2, a special issue on the 
History of IMUK and ICMI. In March 2008, ICMI, 
the International Commission on Mathematics 
Instruction, organized a Symposium to commemorate 
the Centennial of the founding of IMUK, of this 
first body to establish international cooperation 
in mathematics education, in Rome-the very same 
site where that founding had occurred.
In the wake of the Centennial, IJHME had already 
published several papers about the reform 
movements around 1908 in an earlier issue-vol. 2, 
no. 2 (2007). In this new issue, those 
contributions to this Congress are presented, 
which highlight its historical dimension in 
In fact, the ICMI Centennial had two major aims: 
firstly, studying the history of this first 
international body itself, and secondly to 
investigate how key and perennial issues of 
mathematics education have developed during the 
existence of ICMI as shaped and/or reflected by 
ICMI activities. This was accomplished by plenary 
lectures, special talks, and by the working 
groups, which were dedicated specifically to such 
key issues. The Proceedings of the Centennial, 
which are published by now, contain reports about 
the working groups by their co-chairs, and 
abridged versions of the plenaries and special 
Regarding the historical dimension, the special 
issue of IJHME publishes three papers: the 
complete version of one of the plenary lectures, 
by Gert Schubring, who gave the first thorough 
analysis of the history of IMUK under the 
presidency of Felix Klein; the complete version 
of one of the special talks, by Eileen Donoghue, 
who details D. E. Smith's role in creating this 
institution; and the paper by Fulvia Furinghetti, 
whose focus is on the development after the 
re-founding in 1952 as ICMI and the role of 
international communication, be it by journals, 
or by other international organizations.
Among the perennial issues, a major concern has 
always been modernization of syllabi and of 
teacher training, and this is represented in the 
issue by three papers: Luciana Zuccheri and 
Verena Zudini study the approach, implemented in 
the (then) Austrian region of Trieste, to 
introduce the elements of the calculus in the 
upper grades of secondary schools, a key issue of 
Felix Klein's reform agenda not implemented, 
however, in Italy. Arlete de Jesus Brito's paper 
is devoted to the role of international agencies 
in implementing the "modern mathematics" or the 
"New Math" in a particularly industrialized 
region of Brazil. And Kirstín Bjarnadottir gives 
a long-term view of reforms in Iceland, which 
kept pace with the international developments.
The transformation of mathematics education and 
its emergence as a scientific discipline since 
the 1960s/70s is discussed by Rolf Biehler and 
Andrea Peter-Koop. The use of teaching aids-in 
modern terms, "the use of technology"-has been a 
primordial concern for all reformers since the 
early twentieth century and is studied by Kenneth 
Ruthven. The use of history of mathematics in its 
teaching is a long-standing issue of reform 
initiatives, too, and Michael Fried discusses 
here the status of this issue and its 
perspectives, especially as promoted by 
international organizations like ICMI.
The website of the journal is http://www.comap.com/historyjournal/index.html
and the special issue is to be found at:

Gert Schubring, Bielefeld University, Germany, gert.schubring at uni-bielefeld.de


5. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community

3rd International Symposium on Mathematics and 
its Connections to the Arts and Sciences
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, 21st-23rd of May, 2009

The 3rd International Symposium on the History 
and Pedagogy of Mathematics in China
Beijing Normal University , Beijing, China, May 22-25, 2009
Xichi Wang, College of Mathematics & Natural 
Sciences, Beijing Normal University
19 Xinjeikouwai St., Beijing, 100875., P. R. of China, xiciwang at mail.bnu.edu.cn

5th Asian Mathematical Conference
Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 22 - 26, 2009

ICTMT-9 - 9th Int Conf on Technology in Mathematics Teaching
Metz, France,  July 6-9, 2009

PME33 - 33rd Annual Meeting of the International 
Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education
Thessaloniki, Greece, July 19-24, 2009

Bridges Banff - Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture
The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada, July 26-29, 2009

CIEAEM61 - Commission internationale  pour 
l'étude et l'amélioration de l'enseignement des 
Université de MONTRÉAL, Montréal, Québec, Canada, July 26-31, 2009

ICTMA 14 - 14th International Conference on the 
Teaching of Mathematical Modelling and 
University of Hamburg, Germany, July 27-31, 2009

SEMT '09 - 10th bi-annual conference on Elementary Mathematics Teaching,
"The development of mathematical understanding"
Prague, August 23-28, 2009

"Models in Developing Mathematics Education"
The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project
Dresden, Saxony, Germany, September 11-17, 2009
<mailto:arogerson at inetia.pl>alan at rogerson.pol.pl

SRD'09 - Southern Right Delta'09
7th Southern Hemisphere Conference on the Teaching
and Learning of Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics
Gordons Bay, South Africa, 29 November-4 December 2009


6. Historical vignettes: Greenhill, the first vice-president of ICMI

Alfred George Greenhill (1847-1927) was born in 
London on 29 November 1847. He entered St. John's 
College, Cambridge in 1866, graduating as second 
wrangler in 1870. He taught briefly at the Royal 
Indian Engineering College at Cowper's Hill, 
before returning to Cambridge in 1873 as a fellow 
and lecturer at Emmanuel College. Finally in 
1876, he was appointed professor of mathematics 
at the Artillery College in Woolwich, where he 
stayed for over thirty years.
The majority of Greenhill's research was 
concerned with elliptic functions, or, more 
specifically, their applications in applied 
mathematics. To this end, he investigated the 
uses of elliptic functions in dynamics, 
hydrodynamics, electrostatics and elasticity 
theory, using them to treat problems such as the 
motion of a symmetrical top, various kinds of 
fluid motion, and the distortion of a circular 
wire under pressure.
In the theory of elasticity, Greenhill's most 
important work was probably a paper from 1883 
concerning the maximum length possible for an 
upright cylinder before it is bent under its own 
weight. Once he had solved the problem, Greenhill 
applied it to the computation of the greatest 
height to which a tree can grow, collecting data 
on the heights of particular trees to evaluate 
his result.
In his later years, Greenhill's style of applied 
mathematics became increasingly unfashionable 
when compared to the new rigorous approach to 
pure mathematics, as practiced by such early 
20th-century British mathematicians as Hardy and 
Littlewood, which he disparagingly referred to as 
"the morbid pathology of the mathematical 
function". His old-fashioned views were 
accentuated by such a high admiration of Newton's 
Principia, that, he said, "I should prefer to see 
the whole three books prescribed in the Cambridge 
course, to be studied in the original Latin". 
However, it is thought that "in making such 
assertions he was not more than half serious".
But despite his unconventionality, Greenhill was 
apparently a successful and highly respected 
teacher. Indeed, as one of his former students 
reports, "Greenhill was loved by his old pupils 
to a degree which few Professors can have 
Throughout his long scientific career, Greenhill 
received many honours. He was elected a Fellow of 
the Royal Society, a member of the London 
Mathematical Society, a corresponding member of 
the Académie des Sciences and an honorary foreign 
member of the Academia dei Lincei. Finally, when 
he retired from his Woolwich professorship in 
1908, he was knighted by King Edward VII.
In his retirement Greenhill devoted his 
mathematical activities more explicitly to 
matters concerning pedagogy. At the 1908 
International Congress of Mathematicians in Rome, 
he was appointed one of the three members of the 
founding committee of ICMI, the other two being 
Felix Klein and Henri Fehr. He served as 
vice-president of the Commission until 1920.
He continued to work on mathematics during his 
retirement, but his health gradually declined 
throughout the 1920s, and he died on 10 February 

A. E. H. Love, George Greenhill, Journal of the 
London Mathematical Society, 3, 1928, 27-32.
J. W. Nicholson, George Greenhill, The 
Mathematical Gazette, 14, 1928-29, 417-420.

Adrian Rice, Randolph-Macon College, Virginia, USA, arice4 at rmc.edu



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