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A Farewell from the Parting Chairman of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics

August 1985

Christoph J. Scriba

Historia Mathematica 12 (1985), pp. 321-322

At the end of my second period as Chairman of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics, when handing over the chairmanship to Professor Joseph W. Dauben, I would like to say a work of thanks. Thanks first of all to the members of the Executive Committee whose assistance and advice enabled us to carry on the work begun by my predecessor, the founder of this commission, Kenneth O. May (1915-1977). Thanks to Professors J.W. Dauben and Esther Phillips, who have done more for the Commission than anybody else during these past eight years, by editing our journal Historia Mathematica, thanks to all Associate Editors, to all referees, and to the staff of Academic Press, who handled all business very competently and gave us every assistance. Thanks to all members of the Commission, and to numerous other colleagues who actively participated in carrying out our common tasks.

Apart from regularly publishing our journal, in 1978 the Commission published the second edition of the World Directory of Historians of Mathematics which was originally prepared by Professor May and his assistant, Laura Roebuck. A "Supplement" was issued in 1985, just in time for the XVIIth International Congress of History of Science in Berkeley. Furthermore, the Commission organised the Poisson Symposium at the XVIth International Congress in Bucharest in 1981, a summer workshop on at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto in 1983, and a major symposium, "Transmission of Mathematical Science" at the Berkeley Congress. The latter met with such response that it had to be subdivided into six sessions! My thanks go to all our colleagues who helped to organize these meetings and who contributed by presenting papers. It was pleasant to hear from the council of our parent organization, the Division of History of Science of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science (IUPHS), that ours has been among the most active of the Union's commissions in recent years.

As a step toward the future, those present at the Berkeley congress agreed unanimously that the International Commission on the History of Mathematics be transformed into an Inter-Union Commission of the IUHPS and the IMU, the International Mathematical Union. Contacts with this Union have been significant in the past, most notably in terms of the liberal financial support given to us for the Toronto summer workshop. It is certainly in the best interests of our discpline and our profession to promote and strengthen these ties in the years ahead.

In addition to a new chairman, the Commission is pleased to announce other changes in the constitution of its Executive Committee. It is desirable that such changes be made from time to time, and it is customary to do so in association with the International Congresses. Many of the current members of the Executive Committee have served for a period of eight years, some even longer. In such an interval of time, younger colleagues have established themselves within our discipline and should be given an opportunity to participate in our professional activities. At the end of my term as Chairman I am asking everyone who has served in one function or another to appreciate that such a rotation of officers is necessary if a body like our Commission is to stay alive and vigorous.

Thanking you again for your continuous support during the past eight years, I hope and wish that the Commission will sail to new adventures and will investigate new territoriees of scholarship and professional activities in the years to come.

New Executive Committee for ICHM

The International Commission on the History of Mathematics (ICHM) is pleased to announce the election of the following individuals to its Executive Committee. The election was held during the quadrennial meeting of the Commission on August 5, 1985, during the XVIIth International Congress of History of Science, held in Berkeley, California. The Executive Committee was elected to serve for a period of four years, with a new Committee to be elected at the next International Congress scheduled to meet in Hamburg and Munich in August 1989.

Chairman: Joseph W. Dauben (USA) 
Vice-Chairman: Sergei S. Demidov (USSR) 
Secretary: Kirsti Andersen (Denmark) 
Editor of Historia Mathematica: Eberhard Knobloch (West Berlin) 
Kurt-R. Biermann (East Berlin) 
Umberto Bottazzini (Italy) 
Pierre Dugac (France) 
Ivor Grattan-Guinness (Great Britain) 
R.C. Gupta (India) 
Lam Lay-Yong (Singapore), 
Christoph J. Scriba (West Germany)