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.