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Celebrating Victor Katz: Convergence Co-Founding Editor


Victor J. Katz has long been interested in the history of mathematics and, in particular, in its use in teaching. His well-regarded textbook, A History of Mathematics: An Introduction, won the Watson Davis Prize of the History of Science Society in 1995, a prize awarded annually to the best book on the history of science aimed at undergraduates. A brief version of this text appeared in 2003. He is also the co-author of Taming the Unknown: A History of Algebra from Antiquity to the Early Twentieth Century (2014), and the editor or co-editor of two primary source collections: The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India and Islam: A Sourcebook (2007) and Sourcebook in the Mathematics of Medieval Europe and North Africa (2016).

In addition to speaking widely and writing numerous articles on history and its use in teaching, Professor Katz has compiled two collections of historical articles taken from journals of the MAA and edited or co-edited three collections of papers presented at meetings of the International Study Group on Relations between the History and Pedagogy of Mathematics (HPM). Katz has also organized sessions on the use of the history of mathematics in teaching at numerous meetings of the MAA and the NCTM, and he co-directed the NSF-sponsored Institute on the History of Mathematics and its Use in Teaching (IHMT) in the 1990s. Through their participation in IHMT, college teachers from across the US learned about the history of mathematics and how to use it in teaching. IHMT also involved secondary school teachers in writing materials using history in the teaching of various topics in the high school curriculum. These materials, Historical Modules for the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics, were published on a CD by the MAA in 2005.

As a natural outgrowth of the IHMT, Katz was instrumental in obtaining support from the NSF to launch MAA Convergence, and served as its co-editor, with Frank Swetz, from 2004 to 2009.  Among his many other editorial contributions to the journal, Katz co-authored the Mathematical Treasures from Columbia’s Smith and Plimpton Collections. He continues to serve in an advisory capacity to the current editorial board of Convergence.


Frederick V. Rickey and Victor J. Katz at the Institute on the History of Mathematics and its Use in Teaching


Be sure to read the following articles by Katz in Convergence:
Learn more about the following books written or edited by Katz:
Find out about the impact of IHMT from these retrospective reports:
  • Report from Walter Sizer, IHMT Fellow 1995–1996, MAA Online
  • “IHMT 10-Year Anniversary,” by former Convergence editor Janet Beery
    CSHPM Bulletin, Volume 39 (November 2006), pages 9–10.
  • “IHMT: Ten Years After”, by former Convergence editor Janet Beery
    HPM Newsletter No. 62 (July 2006), pp. 17–21.


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


"Celebrating Victor Katz: Convergence Co-Founding Editor," Convergence (June 2019)