Carl Friedrich Geiser and Ferdinand Rudio : the men behind the first International Congress of Mathematicians
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The first International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) was held in Zurich in 1897, setting the standards for all future ICMs. Whilst giving an overview of the congress itself, this thesis focuses on the Swiss organisers, who were predominantly university professors and secondary school teachers. As this thesis aims to offer some insight into their lives, it includes their biographies, highlighting their individual contributions to the congress. Furthermore, it explains why Zurich was chosen as the first host city and how the committee proceeded with the congress organisation. Two of the main organisers were the Swiss geometers Carl Friedrich Geiser (1843-1934) and Ferdinand Rudio (1856-1929). In addition to the congress, they also made valuable contributions to mathematical education, and in Rudio’s case, the history of mathematics. Therefore, this thesis focuses primarily on these two mathematicians. As for Geiser, the relationship to his great-uncle Jakob Steiner is explained in more detail. Furthermore, his contributions to the administration of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are summarised. Due to the overarching theme of mathematical education and collaborations in this thesis, Geiser’s schoolbook "Einleitung in die synthetische Geometrie" is considered in more detail and Geiser’s methods are highlighted. A selection of Rudio’s contributions to the history of mathematics is studied as well. His book "Archimedes, Huygens, Lambert, Legendre" is analysed and compared to E W Hobson’s treatise "Squaring the Circle". Furthermore, Rudio’s papers relating to the commentary of Simplicius on quadratures by Antiphon and Hippocrates are considered, focusing on Rudio’s translation of the commentary and on "Die Möndchen des Hippokrates". The thesis concludes with an analysis of Rudio’s popular lectures "Leonhard Euler" and "Über den Antheil der mathematischen Wissenschaften an der Kultur der Renaissance", which are prime examples of his approach to the history of mathematics.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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