Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | April 19, 2008

History, Philosophy and Culture of Mathematics Seminar

Date and time: May 15th at 4.30 for a 5pm start!

Venue: University of Manchester, Simon Building,
Brunswick Street (off Oxford Road), second floor seminar room (2.57)

Christian Greiffenhagen will present an aspect of his recent research:

Video analysis of scientific practice? An attempt to study a ‘thinking’ science.

This paper will report on my ongoing project of developing a sociology of mathematical practice. Within the sociology of science, there is a clear lack of studies of ‘thinking’ (rather than ‘experimental’) sciences such as mathematics and theoretical physics. There have been a number of historical case studies (most notably Lakatos’s “Proofs and Refutations”), but very few researchers have tried to adapt the ethnographic ‘laboratory approach’ for studying experimental sciences to studying mathematics.

I will briefly review two previous observations-based studies of ‘thinking’ sciences, Livingston (1999) and Merz & Knorr-Cetina (1997), before reporting from my own study of graduate lectures in mathematical logic, focussing on the issue of how a lecturer tries to make the mathematical reasoning of a proof visible to students.

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