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Report on the Wallis Tercentenary Meeting New College, Oxford, 25 October 2003

Jackie Stedall

The Wallis tercentenary meeting, organized by the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM) and sponsored by the ICHM, was held at New College, Oxford, on 25 October 2003, just three days before the anniversary of Wallis's death in Oxford in 1703. There were 43 participants (the maximum number we could accept). New College allowed us to use the beautiful McGregor-Matthews room, which has large windows along each side, offering superb views of the rooftops and gardens of the College. Lunch was provided in almost as fine rooms at The Queen's College. Both colleges are just a few hundred yards from the locations in Oxford where Wallis lived and worked.

A particularly pleasing feature of the meeting was that it was attended by at least five doctoral students working on Wallis or on related seventeenth-century topics. Indeed, the afternoon before the meeting saw scholars from three different countries in the Bodleian Library, exploring a large part of Wallis's personal library and other material, and able to meet and discuss with each other for the first time. It is to be hoped that this aspect of the meeting, the bringing together of people of different backgrounds and experience, will prove to be of long term benefit to the international research community.

The BSHM is very grateful to the ICHM for their sponsorship of the meeting.

The speakers are listed below. Abstracts of the talks are available on the BSHM website: 
and will be published in the next issue of the BSHM Newsletter (about to be renamed BSHM Bulletin).

Jackie Stedall (The Queen's College, Oxford) 
Wallis as cryptanalyst and mathematician

David Cram (Jesus College, Oxford) 
Wallis's Grammar of the English Language

Philip Beeley (Leibniz Forschungsstelle, Münster) 
Between cooperation and controversy: Wallis and the scientific discussion in Europe in the second half of the seventeenth century

Scott Mandelbrote (Peterhouse College, Cambridge, and All Souls College, Oxford) 
Wallis's Oxford

Noel Malcolm (All Souls College, Oxford) 
Wallis and Hobbes

Penelope Gouk (Manchester University) 
Between experimental practice and theoretical science: the significance of music in Wallis's life and works