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Maths and History brought to life in Agincourt LectureFebruary 10th, 2016
The combination of mathematics and history is not one that immediately springs to mind. Upon deeper reflection, however, these two disciplines, in many ways the purest manifestations of sciences and arts respectively, can exist in perfect harmony.
It was with this sense of intrigue in mind that the Agincourt society hosted the eminent Computer Scientist and Mathematician, Professor Tucker of Swansea University, on the subject of Robert Recorde, a figure little known to casual observers, but universally acclaimed in the Mathematical world as the inventor of the “equals” sign and a pioneer of British mathematics.
Professor Tucker not only expertly explained Recorde’s mathematical theorems and his contribution to the development of its elemental philosophy, much to the delight of the on-looking Maths department, but also set Recorde in his historical context. Recorde wrote his English works in the mid-16th century, an epoch of religious upheaval and political tumult in Britain, whilst on the continent, especially in autonomous city states of Italy, learning flourished, as universities prospered and the discoveries of the Renaissance were consolidated. Recorde and his acolytes would drag British science from the depths, to which it had fallen, into the modern age; an age in which Britain would rise to prominence in realms of science and in which her sons, in particular Bacon and Newton, would act as the harbingers of the Enlightenment and the economic prosperity to come.
The Agincourt Society must extend its most sincere thanks and gratitude to Professor Tucker, for what was without doubt an enlightening and eloquent talk, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.