Who am I
To stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate
Slowly grind my life away.

The doorbell rang and when I opened the door this albino gorilla with a thick Aussie accent said, “ Yer should start yer own effin blog or I’ll sit on yer!” * so here I am…

As I am asking you to read a blog, mainly about the history of science, written by me I think it only fair to explain why I think I am qualified to expound on such a subject, apart from the arrogance of a natural born genius that is. Like Mr Wilkins (who is to blame for my presence in the blogosphere) I am an eternal student but unlike him I have never managed to finish any sort of formal education and so I remain an unqualified ignoramus. When I was sixteen years old my father gave me a copy of Eric Temple Bell’s Men of Mathematics to read and I have been addicted to the history of mathematics ever since, which goes to show that even bad history of science (and believe you me E.T.B. is bad) can have a positive effect. Upon leaving school I studied archaeology, mathematics and metallurgy (I have always had a strange love of eclectic diversity, a useful trait in a historian) but having decided that this was not where my future lay became a dropout. For the next ten years I occupied myself with a wide range of ways of earning money including electrician, carpenter, field archaeologist and theatre technician all the while following my passion for the history of mathematics. In the mid 70s I stumbled accidentally over Stephan Koerner’s  The Philosophy of Mathematics in the town library of Malmo in Sweden; at the same time and in the same place I discovered Karl Popper and the philosophy of science. My addiction expanded to include the history and philosophy of science, although retaining a special love for mathematics.

In 1980 I went on holiday and somehow ended up living in Franconia where I entered the local university, as a mature student, and spent more than ten years studying mathematics, English philology, history and philosophy with an emphasis on the history and philosophy of science. In the same period I worked for ten years in a research project into the social (read external) history of formal logic; my special area within the project being the British algebraic logics of the 19th century. All of this time I was working full time in order to pay my rent and eat. In the end I found writing my master’s thesis (The Life and Work of Hugh MacColl) and working full time too much of a strain and being aware of the fact that history of science would never provide me with a living wage I dropped out again. However I still kept up my reading on the history of mathematics.

In 2001 I attended my Professor’s 65th birthday celebrations and spurred on by a comment from a  fellow exstudent I once again took up serious research into the history of science, this time drifting back to the Renaissance where I now reside conducting a long term investigation of the evolution of the mathematical sciences in Europe from 1409 till 1759. If you stick around this blog long enough I shall in due course reveal the secret behind these strange dates.

Although I have no formal qualifications and have the world’s worst publication record, bar none, I am a recognised authority on various historical subjects and am on first name terms with many renowned authorities in the history of science (he said in his modest manner).

I have decided to blog informally on those themes in the history of science that interest me and I hope that they might interest a handful of readers as well. I shall give more details of the main substance of this blog in the following post.

* Actually John sent me a very sweet and friendly email asking if I would be interested in joining him at Word Press and blogging for myself and as you can see I finally decided to give it a try.


Filed under About

37 responses to “WHO AM I AND WHY AM I HERE?

  1. darwinsbulldog

    Looking forward to your posts…

  2. It’s about time! I look forward to reading; and it will be nice to have your comments on topics without having to root through comment threads.

  3. OK, you got my attention now.

  4. Brandon wrote:

    It’s about time! I look forward to reading…

    Roberto wrote:

    OK, you got my attention now.

    “Expectation is a prison.” Robert Fripp.

  5. darwinsbulldog wrote:

    Looking forward to your posts…

    I look forward to yours too.

  6. Did the gorilla happen to mention COTEB? Only I think ye’d be a perfect addition to the ship’s crew, so I hope to see ye on board. We be sailin’ again at the end o’ this month – should ye be interested in signing on, just select a post o’ yours ye’d like us to feature, and send it on to the email at the link.

    Welcome to the blogosphere! Good luck with your blog!

  7. Welcome to the blogosphere!

  8. Veronica Abbass

    I now know who you are and why you are here, but where is here? Where do you blog from?

    The commentatoress

  9. I’m also working in the area of paracelsian and pre-paracelsian archaeastronomy – an interesting circumlocution, but one very necessary if we are to avoid the distortions of the Enlightenment.

  10. Ben Breuer

    Hello Thony, IIRC you have relocated from Franconia to Frankfurt? (Something you mentioned on John Wllikizz’s blog when he was in Germany.) If yes, would you be up for an Ebbelwoi? I’m a musicologist but my research forces me to keep up on the history of science, especially on dear old Ernst Haeckel. If you’re in the mood, send me an e-mail. All the best, BB

  11. Phil

    Your ‘albino gorilla’ sounds more like a Pom than an Aussie.

    I suspect that an Aussie would use much more colourful language: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=CollegeBinary

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  14. Michael Boswell


    I have developed a love of the history and philosophy of science. I came by it through Christian apologetics. I might head off to Sydney and do a post-grad in it. However, it took me twenty years to do my theology degree!

    Michael Boswell

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  16. You have had a very interesting life, sir.

  17. 1409 till 1759 – those do NOT look “strange” to me AT ALL, Sir! They contain, in no particular order (and off the top of my certifiably-insane dollop of grey matter) (and a WITCH DIRECTORY or two:

    – precisely one quarter of a millenium

    – as would be common with such a span, four centuries represented, even though less than 300 years had elapsed (love the MATH on centuries!)

    – performing a bit of numerological gymnastics, the 59-9 (using the SO or Semitic Operand aka RTL) yields the 5th element (E) or (3), while the 17-14 also yields the same 5th element (3) (5 and 3 as well as E and C are the same animal: EVERYTHING aka WHOLE aka the MV (linux for Move yer ass!) aka MultiVerse (global) aka * (logo of 2 rather badass worldwide companies – FedEx and Walmart – AVOIDING both the East and West radian in their logos, right? NO right OR left in ’em! only north/south, and a big X covering the NW/NE/SE/SW pointers)

    – McDix (1409) “sounds” like the birth of a hamburger or hamburglar? or what we derogatorily call McMansion society – the date has embedded in it, the snakes of 1941 (year of) who turn 73 this year, the “fortnight year” of the 21st century (current – 2014), as well as that US Supreme court figure (and Beatles song) NINE – a “nauti” number when flipped a bit and cloned to render the sex char: 69 (sex, oceans, nautical – all the same beastie, aren’t they?) also how H.S. (Home Sippycups) (NOT exactly Sapient) tend to dominate OTHER LESSER sippycups… Nina’s song, isn’t it? 99 luft baloons – DE singer (D + E – 4+5 = ? a rather large pointer to Are Yawn ville, doncha think?

    – Md Sea Clicks (MDCCLIX) Doctor Maryland Ocean Bank (clickbank) – yikes! 1st american insurance co, bergen , ft niagra (falls from francs), brunswick (huge bowling ball co. here in the US), 7 yr raw AND French fry. and Indian (US) warz (see robert anton wilson (RAW-war) for some serious philosophical war of words)

    Ok, I better stop for now 🙂 too much IMPRT’ing is exhausting (Infinite Maverick Pattern Recognition Thinking)

    P.S. (Puget Sound / Personal Sovereignty) – kudos on your handle – I read it as “THOugh New York City” or Leveraged Structural Whole (THO) Science Decision (tree) Light(speed) (NYC)

  18. I very much enjoyed your blog. I am working on a book-blog of my own, you might enjoy, jwhich can be seen at [one word] theoryofirony.com, then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons at the top. My Rube Goldberg contraption of a brain processes the world with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic: Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? History. Literature. Art. Science. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, why not give a read, leave a comment or create a link?

    P.S. Sorry if this seems like spam, but it was written by a real live history junkie.

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  21. Aha…Tony the rope man.

  22. Nice blog. If you like science in the 17th -18th century, you might like to visit our Robert Boyle Summer School sometime! Regards, Cormac

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  26. I still don’t know your name. Good job of being mysterious.

  27. Hey – I dropped out of med school when I was 43. 😁

  28. Hi Thony,

    I’m relaunching the book reviews section of Chemistry & Industry magazine, and I was wondering whether I could add you to our list of reviewers for chemical history & biography books.

    Best wishes

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