Angela Axworthy

Currently post-doctoral research fellow at the Technischer Universität Berlin in the framework of the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge, and previously at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), I have been working since 2002 on Renaissance epistemology of mathematics. My current research deals with Renaissance practical geometry and with the epistemology of astronomy and cosmology in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. I focused previously on the status of mathematics in the thought of sixteenth-century French mathematicians, notably Oronce Fine and Jacques Peletier du Mans, and on the ontological and epistemological status of motion in geometry in the context of the Renaissance Euclidean tradition.

Awards & Fellowships arrow right

  • 2017-2018 Two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of History of Science of the Technischer Universität in the framework of the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge. Research project on: The status of practical geometry and its relations to theoretical and applied geometrical knowledge in sixteenth-century treatises of practical geometry.
  • 2015-2016 Two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Department I of the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte to write and publish a source study in the framework of the Edition Open Sources book series of the MPIWG and of the University of Oklahoma. Title of the book project: The 1531 Edition of the Commentaries on Sacrobosco’s Tractatus de Sphaera of Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi and Bartolomeo Vespucci.
  • 2013-2014 Fifteen-month post-doctoral research fellowship at the MPIWG (Vincenzo De Risi’s group on Modern geometry and the Concept of Space). Research project on: The ontological status of geometrical objects in the commentary on the Elements of Euclid of Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582).
  • 2012-2013 “Fernand Braudel – IFER outgoing” fellowship from the “Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme” (Paris) for a nine-month research stay at the MPIWG (Vincenzo De Risi’s group on Modern geometry and the Concept of Space). Research project on: The ontological status of geometrical objects in the commentary on the Elements of Euclid of Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582).
  • 2012 Annual prize of the Société Française d’Histoire des Sciences et Techniques (S.F.H.S.T.) for the best doctoral thesis in History of Sciences and Techniques.
  • 2005 Annual prize of the S.F.H.S.T. for the best “maîtrise” dissertation in History of Sciences and Techniques.

Education & Qualifications arrow right

  • 2012 Qualification by the C.N.U. (French national council of universities) to teach as a lecturer in philosophy and history of science (sections 17 and 72).
  • 2011 (December 5) PhD in philosophy (First class honours), Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (C.E.S.R.), Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France. Thesis written under the supervision of Joël Biard on The Status of Mathematics in Sixteenth-century France : The Case of Oronce Fine (Le statut des mathématiques en France au XVIe siècle : le cas d’Oronce Fine).
  • 2005 Master’s degree in philosophy (First class honours), C.E.S.R., Tours, France. Thesis written under the supervision of Joël Biard on The Status of the Mathematical Object according to Federico Commandino (Le statut de l’objet mathématique chez Federico Commandino).
  • 2004 “Maîtrise” in philosophy (First class honours), C.E.S.R., Tours, France. Thesis written under the supervision of Joël Biard on The Status of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century in the light of the prefaces to the commentaries on Euclid’s Elements of Niccolò Tartaglia and Christophorus Clavius (Le statut des disciplines mathématiques au XVIe siècle au regard des préfaces aux Éléments d’Euclide de Niccolò Tartaglia et de Christophe Clavius).
  • 2002 Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France.

Talks, teaching and conference organization arrow right

  • 2018 “The transformation of Euclid’s Elements in sixteenth-century treatises of practical geometry”, Workshop Euclid on the Road. Cross-cultural transmission, translation and transformation of the Element organized by Vincenzo De Risi (Paris, CNRS–SPHERE), M.P.I.W.G., Berlin.
  • 2018 “Paper Instruments as Tools of Unification in Early Modern Practical Mathematics”, Panel discussion organized by Kevin Tracey in the framework of the European Society for the History of Science Biennial Conference 2018 (in conjunction with the British Society for the History of Science), London, 14-17 September – individual presentation on the theme Paper instruments and Euclidean geometry in the sixteenth century.
  • 2018 “Practical geometry in sixteenth-century France”, “Oberseminar” in History of mathematics organized by Volker Remmert at the University of Wuppertal.
  • 2018 (summer semester) Teaching seminar (Hauptseminar) on Practical mathematics in early modern Europe for the History of Science department of the Technische Universität Berlin.
  • 2018 Presentation and discussion of the pre-circulating paper “Oronce Fine: from the edition of Sacrobosco’s Sphaera (1516) to the Cosmographia, sive sphaera mundi (1532)”, in the framework of the workshop on The Authors of the Early Modern Commentaries on De sphaera organized by Matteo Valleriani, M.P.I.W.G., Berlin.
  • 2017 “Practical geometry in sixteenth-century France”, Research colloquium organized par Friedrich Steinle for the History of Science department of the Technische Universität Berlin.
  • 2017 (summer semester) Teaching seminar (Hauptseminar) on the status of mathematics from Antiquity to the Renaissance for the History of Science department of the Technische Universität Berlin.
  • 2017 “Jacques Peletier du Mans’s Conception of Practical Geometry in the
    De usu geometriae (1572) and De l’usage de geometrie (1573)”, Workshop Beyond the Academy. The Practice of Mathematics from the Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century, organized by Philip Beeley and Christopher Hollings, British Society of History of Mathematics, York.
  • 2017 “The ontological status of geometrical objects in the commentary on the Elements of Euclid of Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582)”, Seminar of the Sarton Centre for History of Science “Concepts and methods in philosophy and history of science” organized by Delphine Bellis and Charles Wolfe, University of Ghent.
  • 2016 “Oronce Fine’s project for the revival of mathematics in sixteenth-century Paris”, Workshop Teaching mathematics in the early modern world organized by Benjamin Wardhaugh, All Souls College, University of Oxford.
  • 2016 “La forme, le contenu et la finalité de la géométrie pratique d’Oronce Fine”, History of mathematics seminar organized by Rossana Tazzioli, University of Lille 1.
  • 2016 “Conceptions of motion in geometrical definitions according to sixteenth-century commentators of Euclid”, Harriot seminar organized by Stephen Clucas, Birkbeck College, London.
  • 2016 “Mathematical teaching from the Faculty of Arts to the Institution of the Royal Lecturers in early sixteenth-century France”, Three Societies Conference, Edmonton (Alberta).
  • 2016 “Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi and Bartolomeo Vespucci on the geometrical definitions of the sphere in Sacrobosco’s Sphaera”, Lunch talk organized by Peter Barker for the History of Science Department of the University of Oklahoma, Norman (Oklahoma).
  • 2016 Lecture on Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis for the Liberal Arts course on “Early Modern Science” organized by Ewa Atanassow and Michael Weinman, Bard College, Berlin.
  • 2015 Teaching session on “the uses and rejection of starless mobile spheres above the Firmament in sixteenth century cosmology” for the teaching seminar of Matteo Valleriani (M.P.I.W.G.) on Late medieval geocentric cosmology, Technische Universität, Berlin.
  • 2015 “The geometrical definition of the sphere in Sacrobosco’s Sphaera according to Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi (1370/80-1428) and Bartolomeo Vespucci (1479-1527)”, research seminar organized by Anna Jerratsch and Pietro D. Omodeo on the transformations of cosmology, for the Department I of the M.P.I.W.G.
  • 2015 “Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christoph Clavius (1538-1612) on the superposition of geometrical figures : a sixteenth-century debate on the ontological and epistemological status of geometrical objects and procedures”, Lunch talk organized by the interdisciplinary laboratory “Bild Wissen Gestaltung” of the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin.
  • 2015 “The Euclidean Definition of the Sphere in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance: from the commentaries on Sacrobosco’s Sphere to the commentaries on Euclid’s Elements”, Geometry and Space in the Early Modern Age, conference organized by Vincenzo De Risi for the research group on “Modern geometry and the concept of space” of the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte of Berlin.
  • 2015 “La forme des traités de mathématiques pratiques d’Oronce Fine”, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, in the framework of the seminar on “Forms of knowledge” (“Formes du savoir”) organized by Violaine Giacomotto-Charra and Pascal Duris.
  • 2014 “The epistemological and ontological background of the debate on superposition between Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christophorus Clavius (1538-1612)”, HOPOS 2014, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 2014 “Sixteenth-century Interpretations of the Nature and Use of Motion in Geometry”, The Mechanization of Geometry. From Antiquity to the Modern Age, conference organized by Vincenzo De Risi for the research group on “Modern geometry and the concept of space” of the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte of Berlin.
  • 2014 Geometrical, Astronomical and Geographical Notions of Space in the Renaissance, workshop organized at the M.P.I.W.G. for the research group of Vincenzo De Risi.
  • 2014 “The notion of flow of the point as a principle of generation of the line in the Renaissance Euclidean tradition”, history of science seminar (HEST) organized by François Loget and Marc Moyon for the I.R.E.M. of Limoges.
  • 2014 “Renaissance interpretations of the geometrical notion of rhusis”, colloquium organized by Vincenzo De Risi at the M.P.I.W.G.
  • 2013 “The Purpose, Modalities and Limits of the Admission of Movement in the Definition and Study of Geometrical Objects in the Sixteenth-century Euclidean Tradition: Oronce Fine (1494-1555), Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christoph Clavius (1538-1611)”, summer colloquium organized by Vincenzo De Risi at the M.P.I.W.G.
  • 2013 “Le statut des objets géométriques dans le commentaire des Éléments d’Euclide de Jacques Peletier du Mans (1557)”, Paris, seminar on the “Mathematics in the Renaissance” organized by Sabine Rommevaux and Odile Kouteynikoff (UMR 7219 – SPHERE).
  • 2012 “Quelques interprétations renaissantes de l’In Euclidem de Proclus : d’Oronce Fine à Christoph Clavius”, Paris, “Neoplatonic workshop”, organized by Pierre Caye, Philippe Hoffmann, Christian Jambet and Stéphane Toulouse for the Collège International de Philosophie.
  • 2012 “Le statut épistémologique de la géométrie selon Charles de Bovelles”, Tours, C.E.S.R. conference on Charles de Bovelles, organized by Emmanuel Faye, Anne-Hélène Klinger-Dollé et Joël Biard.
  • 2011 “L’influence de Proclus sur la conception du statut de la géométrie d’Oronce Fine”, Nantes, IVth congress of the Société Française d’Histoire des Sciences et Techniques (S.F.H.S.T.).
  • 2010 “La démonstration de l’utilité des mathématiques dans le cadre des préfaces et des prologues d’Oronce Fine”, Tours, C.E.S.R., conference on “The conceptions of Renaissance authors on mathematics” organized by Sabine Rommevaux.
  • 2008 “La reprise et la réception du discours de Proclus sur les mathématiques chez Federico Commandino et Christophe Clavius”, Paris, IIIrd Congress of the S.F.H.S.T.
  • 2007 “L’utilité des mathématiques selon Oronce Fine”, Tours, C.E.S.R.
  • 2004 “L’influence de Proclus sur Clavius concernant la question de l’utilité des mathématiques”, Tours, C.E.S.R.

Publications arrow right

  • 2018 “Le statut épistémologique de la géométrie d’après l’Introductio in Geometriam de Charles de Bovelles” (The epistemological status of geometry according to the Introductio in Geometriam of Charles de Bovelles), in Emmanuel Faye and Anne-Hélène Klinger-Dollé (eds.), Bovelles Philosophe et Pédagogue, Paris, Beauchesne, in press.
  • 2018 “Early modern conceptions and treatments of space and spatiality”, review of Boundaries, extents and circulations: Space and spatiality in early modern natural philosophy. Edited by Koen Vermeir and Jonathan Regier (Dordrecht, Springer, 2016), Metascience, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11016-018-0294-2.
  • 2018 “The debate between Peletier and Clavius on superposition”, Historia mathematica 45/1 (2017): 1-38, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hm.2017.09.004.
  • 2017 “Early Modern Cosmological Debates”, review of Unifying Heaven and Earth: Essays in the History of Early Modern Cosmology. Edited by Miguel Á. Granada, Patrick J. Boner and Dario Tessicini (Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, 2016), Journal for the History of Astronomy, 48/4 (2017), 489-491, https://doi.org/10.1177/0021828617724895.
  • 2017 “La notion géométrique de flux du point à la Renaissance et dans le commentaire des Éléments de Jacques Peletier du Mans”, in Christophe Grellard (ed.), Miroir de l’amitié. Mélanges offerts à Joël Biard à l’occasion de ses 65 ans, Paris, Vrin, 2017, 453-464.
  • 2016 Le Mathématicien renaissant et son savoir. Le statut des mathématiques selon Oronce Fine, Paris, Classique Garnier.
  • 2013 “The ontological status of geometrical objects in the commentary on the Elements of Euclid of Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582)”, Working Paper of the F.M.S.H., published on-line on hypotheses.org.
  • 2009 “The Epistemological Foundations of the Propaedeutic Status of Mathematics according to the Epistolary and Prefatory Writings of Oronce Fine” in Alexander Marr (ed.), The Worlds of Oronce Fine: Mathematics, Instruments and Print in Renaissance France, Donington, Shaun Tyas, p. 31-51.