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Celebrating Frank Swetz: Convergence Co-Founding Editor


For more than five decades, Frank J. Swetz has advocated for the use of history and culture to enliven and deepen the study of mathematics. In particular, he has described how mathematical developments in non-Western societies might be incorporated into the training of secondary school teachers. His books include Was Pythagoras Chinese? An Examination of Right Triangle Theory in Ancient China (The Penn State Press, 1977), From Five Fingers to Infinity: A Journey Through the History of Mathematics (Open Court Publishing, 1994), and Mathematical Expeditions: Exploring Word Problems Across the Ages (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). More information on his career may be found here.

As a founding editor of MAA Convergence, Swetz focused especially on soliciting and preparing book reviews and on creating an extensive collection of Mathematical Treasures, visual images of interesting and great books or objects in the history of mathematics for use as illustrations in mathematics classes. Two of the earliest such images, both published in 2010, were Johannes Kepler's Astronomia Nova and The Geometry of Rene Descartes. The Index of Mathematical Treasures was officially introduced in 2012, and thus far contains a total of 720 Mathematical Treasures collected by Swetz. Together with Convergence co-founder Victor J. Katz, Swetz also authored the Mathematical Treasures from the Smith and Plimpton Collections at Columbia University,  a collection of an additional 106 images from the David Eugene Smith and George Arthur Plimpton collections.


Take a look at these recent extended Mathematical Treasures articles by Swetz:
Be sure to also read the following articles by Swetz in Convergence:


Learn more about the following books written or edited by Swetz:


Learn more about Convergence's history and its other long-term editors on our "Sweet Sixteen" celebration page.


"Celebrating Frank Swetz: Convergence Co-Founding Editor," Convergence (June 2019), DOI:10.4169/Convergence20190602