COURSE: Topics in the History of Science


A series of lectures on the History of Science by Claude Brezinski and Michela Redivo-Zaglia.

Aim: to provide attendees knowledge about the historical roots, birth, and early developments of some subjects in sciences. Science is built up by women and men and since their work is not disconnected from their lives, their biographies will also be related. The course consists of several distinct topics in applied mathematics and, more generally, in sciences. Each of them is self-contained and does not need any prerequisite. Some subjects are more mathematical, while others relate the history of discoveries and can be more easily followed. 

      Dates: April, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24; May, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23.

      Time: 14:00-16:00 (Time Zone Europe/Lisbon).

      Venue: DM-FCUP (University of Porto), FC1 0.04.

Livestream by ZOOM in April:

10 April        Geodesy, topography, and cartography.

11 April        Mathematical introduction to orthogonal polynomials, quadrature method ...

17 April        Padé approximants, continued fractions, and Henri Padé.

18 April        History of continued fractions and Padé approximants.

24 April        The birth of orthogonal polynomials (Lagrange, Legendre and Laplace).

The lectures in MAY could be their continuation on the historyof orthogonal polynomials:

Gauss (1777-1855) and Jacobi (1804-1851).

Benjamin Olinde Rodrigues (1795-1851).

Elwin Bruno Christoffel (1829-1900).

Chebyshev, Hermite, and Laguerre.

However, according to the wishes of the participants, historical lectures on the following topics could also be presented:

A history of calculating devices.

A panorama of numerical analysis during the 20th century.

Extrapolation methods from Archimedes to the present day.

The adventures of a quest.

The method of Cholesky.

The Stein-Rosenberg theorem for relaxation methods.

The history of projection methods for solving linear systems.

The Peutinger Table.

Each person interested in online participation in some, or all, lectures is kindly requested to send a message with her/his name and affiliation to Zélia da Rocha  ( for obtaining the Zoom link.